4 from The Island

Or because it is more easily and sooner an island I built and am building, I collect grasses violated and offended by internal pits. I look across water at water. External qualities which strike the sense come to braid inside the grass, it is green and marriage was. A tight line of trees. So the eye is said to be of very acute and thin liquid, a paint in which the island might become. It came landed upon by roses, I too by way of river. Do I arrive in swill, a dress coming down? There is a river across the island. It was long when the fish were young. And a particular sense which waterfalls devour, for land grows fitfully. I do not look where waters went. I place fish in the river and am taken. I put my dress on me. In the throat of each I too allow desire, perfected by anatomy, vine pleating a bloom nowhere else to be found,

I say a stream will break, then see brightness, moths unseamed. I make my bed clean and slip. I wake here, coiled by years, climb into rock and see pooling, want it, sick with valley. The skin divides into lilies without rocks, spine, horses wading to brush me at the neck. So an island is made touched. But tongue’s nature is to fasten red flowers closer, so the ventricles thereof are soft as hair and undo infinitely. Where do I put a garden if not in the stomach to drown. If I carry moths through an island the marriage is not well. I know cherries, forget I went firm in water before I was stroked against the slender night grass. Which mouth is oblique or an island, stringy with fronds, which broad bride self dilated in heat, whose snakes seething up,

I invent new forms for sinews of plum pines into marital bedding. Horses arrive stinking of minor weeds, for a garden of towering mustards must divide the whole to nerves. I keep one clump of secret rose. Two blinks of nectar are enough to keep pliant the head, the chest of horses, meanwhile mustards circle me, reduce where the lower belly wills. You were asleep, did not hear me leave the water, where I was a girl who swam. Some are known to take pencils into private chambers and thereby keep forever the head, neck, chest, hands, feet of enormous leopards, dreamed, but I have seen them stirring bodily over the bedtime rocks. Others insist it is into the head, chest, belly, and bladder that my leopards dissolve. One might undo for an island. I divideth the body into public and private mountains of birds, so am split inside. I hold the birds by their pink, to fasten a cherry down,

Thus no one complains. Each bird dampens, I take my dress to kneel. Is it I or island who thinks we have run through? The nature of man or clean lily means I sleep calmly, rung by cliffs. If tendrils turn peach in sun it is by necessity or method of plucking rot from a gold light. There is juice in the cheek. It takes all my anatomy to weigh each fissure, one ounce of orchid and six hands of my pit. Bats thicken the canopy, I stuff the river with silk. I have written thereof also in steam, then dew rose in my clutches as in stomachs of leopards. Sometimes we ran early when the grasses were not yet, and the moths slivered apart. I will not go where the island spits. We speak of later years and heavy branches collapse the blooms. I must not put lines in the trees, how porous are leopards, a live thing circles itself,

Abby Ryder-Huth is a poet and translator whose work has appeared in Poetry, Bennington Review, Apartment Poetry, Changes Review, and elsewhere. The Glass Clouding, a hybrid translation project on Masaoka Shiki's work, is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse.