Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cedars of Lebanon by Derrick Austin

Cedars of Lebanon

       His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance        is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. –Song of Songs 5:15

If you can see them, the snow-covered
cedars, crowning the hills, come

to the cabin between the two tallest,
their branches hooked

with the tantrums of crows.


Will you find me without the pink and blue hydrangeas?

Will you find me without the spikes of St. Augustine grass?

Will you find me with the bloodied snow—where some frail thing was



If you find a stag and kill it,

throw its hind legs over your shoulder
and drag it to my cabin
between the tallest cedars.

Its blood on the snow is my voice pursuing you.


I sleep on a cedar bed
with red fur blankets,

the wood of the gates of paradise,
wood which hid the naked couple.

Wood of shame. Wood of passage.

If you come, I’ll press my hand
to your chest. A key

to the fittings of a lock.


You knock at the door.
Break several cedar branches

and dust off the snow.
Bring in seven for the bedroom,

seven for the fireplace,
then rest your head on my chest—

even bare
branches can make a kind of summer.

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