Neesa Sonoquie

At Thirty-Seven, In Bed

From this world pulling through the eye of a needle
I have learned to make myself very small.
I have learned to adjust the ways I love
like a cross-country clock,
its bird trail of shacks and hot pink freeways,
gassy patches of artichokes whose tiny cities
boil all night with what isn’t broken yet.
I have learned to be frightened of how much I don’t care.
Epic planetary entanglements can carry on
their hot jealousies, their soapy intercourse
in this big dark mouth, and I am worried about my face.
I cannot see it. I cannot see it.
What I love in my way is sleep and my inability to fail within it.
I am a pilot whale, I am a white chair,
in the plastic box of sewing needles, I am every one.
In the apricot room of my ear there is peace and tranquility.
Having written this I remember that I have been courageous,
that the gifted spaces of silvery light and the radial trill
of a fat-assed California from this world spins another one
behind my breastbone and I feed it with what time I have left.
That hours are flat, ugly things.
I want to be touched in the beery industrial glare of now.
I want to love with effervescence and fortitude,
the way a pinwheel minds a big wind.

I Have Heard the Rabbit and the Owl Make a Glorious Noise

These wild and divergent stars are closer to wonder
Than breathing is underwater,
And the plot of your life is a beautiful thing.
It is a card house with a fault line that wants to split you.

This state of wildness is closer to a plot of weeds
Than a man on a wire among the low-hanging clouds
Steadying a bothersome dream upon the tip of his nose,
The one about his brother who turned into a fox
And ran away into a familiar darkness.

In a dark forest is a wild animal who remembers
The boy he used to be. In the taut filaments
Of his plump new heart is a familiar melody
That reminds him of his mother
And her white throat.

What is this joy?
Seidel stares at sparkles in a movie theater
Where someone dreams of kissing a stranger.
The love scene is this—

Man ties a string to your ankle,
Takes the tip of the string in his mouth.
Man swallows string and you become
Another thing that will eventually disappoint.
How touching will point you inward
And move you into an uncomfortable light.
The man presses his ear between your breasts.

The warm sun reaches its long arm
Through a window above the kitchen sink
And the mother tries to remember something
She will never remember.
Like a new shame the knowledge of this digs a hole.

It waits there, in the pit of her neck.
It listens for a correspondence.
In the distance a highway pulls cars
And an animal waits in the bushes
And so becomes the bushes.

This is a matter of life.
This is a matter of death.
This is a matter of not looking too closely.

See, the love scene is this—
Let in only a little bit at first.
It will feel very cold and extraordinary.

Author Portrait

Neesa Sonoquie received her BA in English with a minor in Creative Writing and a Certificate in Literary Editing and Publishing at California State University, Chico, and recently earned an MFA in Poetry at Portland State University. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon with her cat, Jezebel.