for Violeta Parra

hen-scarred, claw-pocked
you with the dirt inside
your berry-blood mouth

you made fire in your fingers
scratching to find the song
that would call home into your feet

you, sufferer
you, lover
with the little old guitar
full of birdsong
inherited from your father
the monkey
the professor
the swimmer and smasher of wine
how you kept the strings
bent into veins
and buried him in stitches

you, mother
whose darling angel fled
who kept your son’s breath
with the sun’s wings
sprouting from the stones

your own reflection
passing bread and jars
the wooden box of coin
of paper in the wind
the creaking of the swing
where you hid the small gun
in the pocket of your dress

flower of the country
of the dust and steady drums
your arrow eyes
that looked into the earth

your cavernous ears
filled with tread and gasoline
footsteps and applause
with instruments along
the echo of streets
your attention tuned
to every wrinkle in each suit
rarely to your own hair
grown wild in its sides

you turned over coals
letting the heat breathe
in front of everyone
under the evenings
filled with open cuts of light
outside your favorite tent
where the microphone was throat
and clap and the morning breaking through

when in the world
there were still ways
to eat and to be eaten

the body was-

a salt lick stone

a honeycomb,

an open place
for dreaming.

amidst the bolting flowers
strung all through the grass

earth was step
and breath
and step

nothing moved too fast.

cold in the night
the transparency
layered lunar
soft exhibitions
under white wings
shrieking with light
high through
the breaking

how wet
and green
the garden
alive with
old death
finger picked
and piled

I smile with dirt
under the nails
all earth tracked
and took,

looking back
it is the path
of growing’s
goings on
that make the way
want no container
but explain itself
with climbing.