Haley Wooning



I dredge the dawn-dark calm sea, a void

——–displacing the world beyond the heath

where I wring my wrists and outgrow

——–each radiance. Only sometimes do I

recall the terror of being alone, the red-crisp

crunch of bones that is the echo

———–of my old life. Otherwise, I remain

here; the sand soft-white like sleep and each small

—————-hour an isolated

silence. Only the stars visit, winged phantoms

tossed from far-flung corners of imperceivable

——————-obscure worlds. Nightly,

each arrogance, each memory of touch unfolds

and is replaced by my human dreaming. Only sometimes

do they call upon my name, as if

–somewhere, to keep me from forgetting, to

keep my ash-weighed eyes a witness: someone must

see them, each morning, that shrug of stars

snuffed out

across the sea. Who else will weep for them?

Who else will wait

——–and burn, the last of all animals? I want

for nothing else. Longing has been drained from me

like milk from twilight-thistle. I am

what the world demands—————-woman

lacking any shape or voice, impermanent

hollow as that

——–flesh-torn smell of lilies. Thick,

sticky-sweet. They try, and fail,

————to blanket the realm of something dying.



I tell myself: I can bear anything

winter, emptied of trees
or a spring fueled on the ashes
of nothing

each of my wakings are strange,
each dawn I am plunged into mist
upon the wings of unknown phantoms

still, I move on, I forgive the
twilit eclipse of memory, the quiet
memorious assertion of graves

if I saw the sea again, would I remember?
even now, my senses dull and flail, I am
patterned in the inconceivable reach

of stars: each an abandoned kingdom

here is my desire for goodness, it is
an annihilation; for the rest of my life I
will forget and keep forgetting

how then, tenderness? the core stalks
us everywhere, madness is not a thing
with color, yet it protrudes in each direction

easier to secure like rope my body with images:
a huntress, the moon, hands unfurled with swallows
and wolves stalking the omissions black with time

in my mind I watch them fill the field with sound,
I must keep them close to me, all other longings are
crude and fruitless

somewhere, I changed; no use recounting when but
the hot mouth of their happenings: violence
or violation, my body bloomed pointless
below the world’s battered rain



each day I am drowned with dreams
the gaping maw of prayers

the earth yawns, what is shut
will not open: a serpent snores
below the sea

it has removed from me what
all of time was bound to take:
memory and affection

I slouch down into the depths of dawn,
a life possessed by distance
and the waiting for hands of warmth

where I step, the water darkens
the soul slips and spreads between
the seams, frail, uncolored swans

that bring in their wings
to die



I went
down where
the copse of old trees
unfurled their last
dark apparition
that sloughed flesh
into long and hidden

a maze it became,
roving howl and wood
or night like entrails
in earth, a worm bidding
that crude wait- I should
have looked away
I could not, I
wanted too badly
to see
my self

so I plucked my
eyes on the red branch
like an unknown verb, my
hands culled with webs of
dream: I split, I did not
look away, but in no
kindness did my life
open, as shut
as ever

and so my world
into the sea like ink
moon-dragged and
deathless: it was mine
no longer



memories wet & whet like
rain drenched earth
below me

here, the sprouting
unknown weeds and crude-cut
slipping gowns from
ghostly chambers

one forgets they are human
that we live outside of our dreams,
those green, forbidden woodlands

is a consequence

and wasn’t it you who
told me that
————we should not speak
of things
—–intangible as wind? I am

that, aren’t I? forgettable
as a feather a small meager mortal
thrum or am I

more like reed bending
pitiless—–shaped from another
time – one I
do not recognize or am
capable of conceiving

loneliness makes an awful
stagnant hollow sound, can
you hear it?

——–a song that has forgotten
the sea or
————–a song that the sea
has forgotten


Haley Wooning lives in California where she writes poetry.





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