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Malena Mörling


In the yellow head of a tulip


In the yellow head of a tulip

in the sound of the wind entangled in the forest
in the haphazard combination of things
for sale on the sidewalk
an iron next to a nail-clipper next to a can of soup
next to a starling’s feather
in the silence inside of stone
in tea in music in desire in butter in torture
in space that flings itself out in the universe
in every direction at once without end
despite walls despite grates and ceilings
and bulletproof glass
the sun falls through without refracting
in the wind hanging out its own sheets
on all the empty clotheslines
in the bowels of rats
in their tiny moving architectures
in a world that is always moving
in those who are unable to speak but know how to listen
in your mother who is afraid of her own thoughts
in her fear in her death
in her own derelict loneliness
in the garden late at night
between the alder tree and the ash
she rocks herself to sleep in the hammock
a little drunk and wayward
in everything she is that you are not
in the well of the skull
in the fish that you touch
in the copper water
in its breath of water
in your breath, the single bubble rising
that could be you
that could be me
that could be nothing

When Our House Was Old

         If it’s true
what Lorca said,
     that dead people
hate the number two,
         what do you suppose
they think of
     the number three?

The number three
         that can vanish
without a trace
    twice into
the number six
         and three times
into the number nine.


     I’ll tell you,
if I were dead,
         I’d love
the number nine.
     Because it’s
as if it’s made
         of metal.
And it’s lilac-
     colored and beautiful
like a circle.


          And also because
any number
      divisible by nine,
itself adds up to nine.
          Take for instance,
the number 18
    or 27 or 36…


It’s a puzzle
          that’s immaterial
and soundless,
     like a shuttle.
A shuttle only the dead
         travel by
from the horizon
     to the pawnshops
in Vivian
          and back.


Or from the horizon
    to the stockyards
in Omaha
         and from the stockyards
to Spain.
     And from Spain;
back in time


          to when our house
was old
      and we had
a lot of books
          and Lorca
was our light
     of eyelids
and billfolds,
         of bitter roots

and floating terraces. 



          -from Astoria