to a daughter
Set the wimples on fire, you did, your hair a lava,
molten, red, your naphtha spilt, the white sheets lit
when you drew him into your belly that first night.
Noon slips in and out stilly. Time is marked by need
yours and his not hours, anymore.
And his sleep is your sleep, now. It rises up
and foams your lips, slips its crust beneath your lids,
scumbles your dreams. In his mouth, your mouth
awash a thousand new tongues learns. In his mouth,
your mouth galloping a thousand new countries travels,
countries greener than Ireland,
enigmatic as Qatar
far countries which confide in you their landscapes
but withhold their precise names.
With his teeth he lays rubies at your throat.
A polite young man, doorless,
sfumato of husband and father hell become,
he encircles you like smoke, moves in like weather
blowing westward from the desert the hamsim of Safed,
eddies of sand swirling in scorched air, lifting prayer
from the mouths of Sisters of the Holy Sepulchre,
grit mingling with spit forming grout of devotion
as they stand, white like flint, absorbing sun beneath habit,
clutching patience and waiting to ignite.