Editor's note: these poems originally appeared in the old/previous Luna Luna
WE SAY, WE SEE, HOLES IN THE CHAPEL'S CONSTRUCTION: THE YOUNGEST
WIFE HELPS HER HUSBAND BURY HER ALIVE
“…the wall presses me too hard and crushes my weeping breast and breaks my child and my life is failing.”
—“Master Manole and the Monastery of Arges,” The Walled-Up Wife: A Casebook
Go after the glint, your fingers’ motion like wings after wedding bands,
reflecting sunlight, casting stars against a darkness
in half-built rooms. Go down, repeats. The building crew watches, holding
their hammers like stillborns to their chests. It matters little what I say. No, is
what our son said as I left to bring you lentils.
Tastes like you, you’d say. Our son and you nestled upon your own breast
of me. Lowering myself between wall frames—masons pour mortar. Stand
still, you say. Won’t be long, I told our son with-
out looking back. Look at me, I say—before you knock me dim—I hear our
son crying, but it’s your face I see weeping over the red bricks that stack
EXPERIMENTS IN BEING BURIED
1. Alive in Naked Earth
Holding shovel is a boy—not boy so much as a body growing.
How his skin—patch of ground—is like a bed. What can’t be
sown in youth? Clean well mouth—spring of throat. New. My
skin’s a stained sheet tied to a dry-line. I’ve asked him, to fold &
bury me? He’ll do as instructed. Spade corner to garden corner.
Hands of earth against my mouth—there was a time I believed
in the all consuming. I want to believe again. Holding a shovel,
is a boy. Buried alive, I reclaim something:
remember when love smelled like rain?
II. Buried Alive in Cinder Block
My students build me into
tower. Standing for three hours, readingold texts aloud, I have no idea what they are doing on the other side of me. Eventually they pullback the bricks to reveal graffiti. A girl who cannot hear, has drawn a sun in sunglasses. The man in chargeof safety admits: I enjoyed that: Ireallydid. Truth told, so do I. Isn’t this the storywe’velonged for? Babel—that universal reach towards something largerthan self. I ask what’s remembered; and no one knows what to say. Or is it
how to say…
III. Masturbating in Someone Else’s Bed
I’m not home when he begins to ignore me; I hold my breath until blinded by asphyxiation. I’m again void. Again, invisible. Light. It’s all heat now. I turn towards myself; she has our face in our hands. She’s pounding it into the ground. As sky snatches ocean, held high, she drops me. A skyline fall. Covered in blood, I come—sobbing with the automatic song of pleasure— my fingers red stains—robins fluttering over broken eggs—their wings sound
the question, Why? Why? Why?
Nicelle Davis is a California poet who walks the desert with her son, J.J., in search of owl pellets and rattlesnake skins. She is the author of Becoming Judas and the forthcoming collection The Walled Wife, both available from Red Hen Press, and her first book, Circe, is available from Lowbrow Press. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Beloit Poetry Journal, The New York Quarterly, PANK, SLAB Magazine, and other publications. She is editor-at-large of The Los Angeles Review, and has taught poetry at Youth for Positive Change. She currently teaches at Paraclete ,and with the Red Hen Press WITS program. Her most recent collection, In the Circus of You, is available from Rose Metal Press.