Two Poems

By Mary Stone Dockery

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The Graves We Dig

Are filled with syringes. Our lips are torn, blood smears the four walls. Someone took a match to letters etched by our teeth. The scent of charcoal. We have been digging for years. The stars are suddenly closer. Some have even exploded, drifting onto us with the soil of the sky. We must be digging up. Above we find another blood moon, settled in the sky like a blot on someone’s burned tissue. Remember lighters hot on our backs, the burn of a tattoo. Remember meth days, the sun in our veins. Or the sky is a doily, wounded, ripped at the edges. Once elegant, now buried in an antique chest, or stuck beneath an old lamp. We dig because our hands need calluses. Because your name has been written at the bottom in blood. Those digging away from us would help, if only they had hands.

Tache Noir


Sculptor’s hands disintegrate
papier-mache hot air balloons

we watch from a patch of dry grass
chisel of sunlight and sweat

rise, claims the soapstone
breath that curls like wet paint
across our knees
a ribboning horizon buckles
for audience no longer laughing
bring the buckets, the newspaper
to rebuild what has never singed
an open mouth sky, rotting glue
why we can’t remember our own
hands startling marble faces awake

—————————–a crow’s face smeared across
—————————–plaster——— the viewer
—————————–finds herself lodged in a beak
—————————–dangling, she reaches to pluck
—————————–razor feathers———– drops
—————————–one on her lover’s lip


From the balcony, the wildfires
appear like water colors jazzing
for the sky, airplane toothpicks
scratch red bandages over the billow
we wait for trees to blacken
for roads to close for good
the ice in our tea glasses
melts so quickly we are sure
the fires have circled back
we use our fingers to wipe tea
on white walls, staining
our house like an old diary

Mary Stone Dockery