There are no starfish in the sky tonight,
But there is one below your belly,
And there are cold evenings in your eyes.
If I could get to your house
I would look under the bed of your childhood,
The tongueless loafer without laces or eyes,
The cave of your young foot
With its odor of moon, its dampness
Coming from underground, your shoe
Which also bled and is now an island.
You have to remember these are the memories
Of a survivor, you have to remember.
You could be looking for clay to haul away,
Fill for the deep washouts of your love.
All your old loves, they bled to death, too.
Your hair is like a cemetery full of hands,
Fingers in the moonlight.
When you come down to the heart
Bring your post-hole diggers and crowbar.
Do not set a corner, a fence won’t last.
Do not bury our first child there,
Or set a post,
Although I have tasted blood on the lips of a stranger,
At night and in the rain.
Frank Stanford, What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford (Copper Canyon Press, 2015)