in the morning, song
arises from the earth — not from 
birds or auto engines; but
in the very timid blue of the
sky sits a siren, seducing the sun to
life with her euphonic songs.  misted leaves 
stir, factories spout their churning
smoke, alarm clocks blare, ships depart from
harbors, the radio news chants ... but mostly, men 
rise in their apartments, houses, farms, condominiums,
and elsewhere, everywhere, rising to the call of
the sky siren.  she stirs them to trundle into
their cars, drive across the rutted roads
to factories, farms, highrises, mines ... clinking, 
thunking, bumping, creaking, squeaking, scraping, thumping, 
clacking ... by midmorning, they have their cups of 
coffee, except the nouveau-age, who drink
glasses of grapefruit juice, or the outdoorsmen who stand
in the shade of a barn roof, gazing to their
pastures, or the most hard-working who
simply continue.  By the siren's rest
at day's end, quieting her allure for the night, these men
travel back, returning home to make new noises with
the TV, blender, dishwasher, faucet, stove, shower, 
guitar ... praying that by reproducing their daytime 
noises, they can call the siren to sing them 
awake.  And inevitably, she rises.

     underneath the activity, in the dark 
humus, rich with fertility, lie the bones and 
flesh of solitary women: mothers, sisters, lovers, 
daughters; buried by living, the constant crush of scraping,
mopping, twisting, knotting, shoving, bowing, washing, scrubbing,
bending ... they wake to the earth's pressures, squeezing
children out of their wombs, while digging continually to fend off
soil suffocation.  by midheat, they pause to breathe
the loess.  at the night's chill, they condense into 
dark pebbles, pockets of decay in a world of subterranean 
desires.     through generations of pressure, these
women have become stone deaf.  they cannot be raised by
the siren's song, not by the seductress of life; the
motion she stirs has swirled these women down.

     but i would raise you — by singing of death,
by singing of longing and loss, of persephone and hades,
of winters, of harvests ruined by pestilence, of miscarried
children, lashed belts, fall-spring marriages, of postpartum
depression, of bread dough made at sunrise, of hand-wrung 
laundry, secondhand sickness, forced sex, of large lineages, of
corsets, cover models, of frying pan burns, glass ceilings, high
heels, of hosiery, of anorexia & bulimia, hairspray, salt &
ammonia, of fertilization, of RU-486, wage gaps, of clinics,
of sweatshop sewing ... i would sing the blood from my lungs and
the water from my ears, hoping that you might hear, but if you
cannot, i would raise you by dredging the thick earth with
my hands, until i touch your fingers ... and perhaps perhaps by 
grasping mine, you would let me pull you