Selections from Dayawati, Of Mercy

Seduction, after The Great Plains
Across the stage, a birth chart of weightless deviations, each body
filling itself on a cannon of lusting—constellate me, untense me, give
me into the last-resort sinew, bone at the cool glory
of my sexy clarity, stop-motion as a strobe-lit prairie.
Watch me watch me in the mirrors. Lightning, water is a poor conjunction—
I arch sternum and spread leg, know better
than to keep dearly in the empty pockets of pussy commodity.
I take copper under my tongue, wade the pool
channel the nightshift through an electric campus of roving mothers—
meaning, under the stench of men and cigarettes, I am foul-mouth blood, a whole world
laid with shaved pearl, so
when I dance you read what you can see, my eyes
turned beneath heaving light-caught rhinestone on lashes
is a spin           a swerve          a veil
I’m not here with you or for me, like jaw-clenched
knots in my throat I cut this circulation of barter and tend.
I bring tender, I do better, I lick the wound and enter—
letting the tongue split and wander there.

Seduction after fossil beds
A poem isn’t composed of words          just as
the prairie isn’t composed
of bones, crickets

Just as inhabiting me, she
might be nerves, florissant          exceptionally
preserved in mudstone, paper-shales 

Who is our state-flower and who
turned this land construction          site
the melodramas echoing peaks

Skin the getting out
skin the lips as if          at their blooming 
language fossilized, preserved

In the fall and swoon
of volcanic ash and algae          diatom
her nervous cry her nerving edge

Her edge of suffering skin
leaves my mind          vanishing
an entire ecosystem
          we name          “the world’s first roses”