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Living in the Tall Kingdom


The house of shadow grows longer on the field
until there is only shadow, and the moon
brings thin milk, its second trickery of sunlight,
over the horizon.  Indoor feeling.  I won’t go
to the city, where I would be lost
in constant streetlight that soothes residents
like water lapping endlessly against a rowboat’s hull.
When the bedroom light is doused I climb down
from the window and wander into my own realm
where no one can place a finger on me.
The quarry is filling with snowmelt, the smooth
and slack-jawed pit darkening with water. 
To which kingdom does the quarry belong? 
To the kingdom of the tall, of genitals vast
like herds of cattle on the hills, or the kingdom
of safety, where wooden ladles are beaten
against doorframes to ward off ghosts:
the whereabouts of each realm as difficult to discern
as a snake’s belly on its long underside.
As the city dampens the night sky with its light
I take off my shoes and splash into the stony water
beside the frogs and their pitched chorus.   Alone,
love-deep in the mud with stone-bred weeds
behind my ears I wait for the quarry muse
to step out of her skirt, and with her mouth
close my dripping mouth.