Nose to Earth





Beneath the night, our murmurings,

touching, searching in the softness and warmth

of skins at moonfall,

we are quiet, foreheads together,

we sleep, we dream.


You push me away, turn on the bedside light, read.

You do not want to read me, my things, hear my life,

know me, know my body only.

What are you reading, nothing I

just can't sleep, oh, I thought it was me, something.


I dream that I wake to find my heart has stilled and I am the

heart of a mockingbird pecking on the windowpane of you,

snippets of nightsong, gurgling from a sense of featheredness,

fragility, of coming light? any requests? a requiem?


And then I hear it, the crunching, grinding of your

teeth, disturbing my dark float

like a poker in the fire of me

a spurt of flames and crackling sparks on my startled

way back up into the bed next to you, a

giant sharpening his teeth

you will not wake to hold me

and I know you would say

leave, if I frighten you so much.


The black wave flows over me again, warm black

oil the fear this night, I run with the cat heart

stalking, you fall and my teeth crunch bone of

neck, blood spurting in my face, the black wave salty

washing us, pulling you dead into the sea with it,

to the depths of itself

I lick my cat paws of your blood

waiting for the images to flicker

before cat eyes at dream windows

the water, the mirror, the surface of the



A darker wave of black, thick,

beneath the night the sky is dripping stars

I brush against leaves of jungle growth

nude, dew, moist and cool

healing skin and bones, I curl to sleep

I dig my fingers deep into dark earth, rich,

the small ones living there

worming and scurrying away from the strange

new touch, I roll over and over and down

to a clearing, an oasis, a basin of dark

clear water and wait

camouflaged by the black earth

on my skin, wild dark eyes

hypnotized by the rhythm of the night-

living creatures, croaking and chirping and

screeching, all eyes blazing in the night,

nose to earth, waiting.


A scream wells up from the darkness of the bed

anger erupting molten rock from beneath the

surface of my sleep, stifled, sickening, I tremble and

wake. I shiver close to where you warmed beside

me; you are there a half second before I wake, no

longer. The bed is ice.


I wander down for the

freshness of the sun

the mockingbirdsong of

morning is nonsense, gibberish;

the cat on the windowsill, sleeping.





Fall, ©1986


Amy Jackson









Scar, white,

and hard:

inside me there is always

that place, stiff,

numb, paralyzed ...



He gave me that scar.



beneath the scar


there is a dry

ripping, burning, wrenching

pounding rhythm.


The screams of pure anger and hatred

have not surfaced, or passed.


I am left behind with that

bloodless white


what bleeds







Fall, ©1986

Amy Jackson




She Flies



They try to catch the tips of her buttery-soft wings with their fingers

she is quick in her mystery, in her fear

with a net he comes saturdays and he sees her world

this is the only field left in all of america

with his net to catch her, to watch her die in an empty pickle

jar without holes, empty except for her and a cotton ball soaked in alcohol

because he is an amateur


old white house with a screened-in front porch and a rose garden used to

used to be here, he used to see it, condemned, on his way in to work

fighting for home, between radio commercials wondering who grew

up there


roses still bloom and die, defiant, in the overgrown grasses choke

yellow roses, once he gave a woman roses, yellow roses

she said yellow ones meant friendship and kissed him on the cheek

buried her face in the petals to look pretty


she drinks nectar, golden pollen on her black legs, a feast, only a few

hesitant buds not yet unfolding in the sun


he doesn't think twice, net, jar





Fall, ©1986

Amy Jackson




up close (a fantasy)



earth of your eyes

calm mind a river

heart a boat, your

breath warm wind

so soft the valley

of your back, I float.





Amy Jackson