Narcissus

separated by a stretch of breath,
suspended beneath
a watery veil,
white below the
light of a high
effulgent sun,
whose gold curls
drift
across an alabaster
cheek?

the crests of the current
break, myriad and soft,
against blue eyes
drowning in longing.

His voice commands
the ripples.
the words flows
downstream
in silty silence

Metamorphosis of Narcissus by Salvador Dali (1937)
Metamorphosis of Narcissus by Salvador Dali (1937)
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Charybdis

How does one stay the same?
Are our bodies vessels containing some
water that flows in whirlpools and waves?

If too much is poured out from
within, are we then dried—
or rather if too much

is let in, does the tide
become silty and brown
and coagulate inside?

Or do whirlpools that spin downward
twirl and turn counterclockwise
as the gulls above are thrown

offcourse, circling recursively, for dry
land to perch and rest on until
they begin to diagonally glide

and fall in stillness,
into the whorls that
bury their worn quills

as it silently draws back

Bookmark

A setting sun passes
under blighted boxwoods
and through rippled windows
onto the antebellum beams
from which hang black skillets over
handcut stacked and loam mortared stones
that my mother rests her arm on
as motes locked in light
foreground her white blouse
and gingham apron
as she takes my words
and writes them in ink
like hieroglyphics on a square of
construction paper
thick and pulpy
so that the ink runs
through the creases
splaying like small papyrus stalked deltas
as her lines and cursive curves connect
into wholes of meaning
        white bread, mustard, relish,
        muenster and sausages on half,
        on the other half sardines
        (briny and bisected down the pearly blue belly)
        remember to give me a napkin, mom
inscribed forever and left as a bookmark
in the yellow spine of The Silver Palate.

Photo by Sheila Holzer
Photo by Sheila Holzer

Twilight Tree

(Watching the amassed lightning bugs set fire to an otherwise unnoticed Magnolia)

I had my eyes shut tight
enough so that their effulgence
could just squeeze between my reluctant eyes
but not pass, forever forgotten,
through the sieve of my memory

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Transistor

A little girl in torn overalls,
pretzel-legged in front of the bellowing  cabinet.

She held on to the Southern drawl
that crescendoed and hushed,
always parallel with the crests and troughs
of the Sunday evening story
from the wire grated speakerbox,
like a trapeze swing, or
as though it were a safety rope
tied around her waist
so that, if need be,
she might tug twice or three times,
depending on her urgency,
and get pulled back to her
regular spot on the floor
to find the rope knotted
and her arm bruised from
trying to remove herself from
the inextricable silence
of this humming land
and its crashing
doldrums.

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