Sunday, October 13, 2019

A water woman has no body by Lisa Ciccarello

A water woman has no body
Emptiness is a blessing:
it can’t be owned if it doesn’t exist.
My father said to bloom but never fruit—
a small trickle 
eating its way through stone.
I am one kind of alive:
I see everything the water sees.
I told you a turn was going to come 
& turn the tower did.
What are the master’s tools 
but a way to dismantle him.
Who will replace the blood of my mother in me—
a cold spring rising.
She told me a woman made of water 
can never crack.
Of her defeat, she said
this is nothing.

Honestly, by John Ashbery

we could send you out there
to join the cackle squad,
but hey, that highly accomplished,
thinly regarded equestrian—well there was no way
he was going to join the others’ field trip.
Wouldn’t put his head on the table.
But here’s the thing:
They had owned great dread,
knew of a way to get away from here
through ice and smoke
always clutching her fingers, like it says
to do.
Once we were passionate about the police,
yawned in the teeth of pixels,
but a far rumor blanked us out.
We bathed in moonshine.
Now, experts disagree.
Were we unhappy or sublime?
We’ll have to wait until the next time
an angel comes rapping at the door
to rejoice docently.
(I know there’s a way to do this.)

Friday, October 11, 2019

Another August by James Merrill

Another August

Pines. The white, ochre-pocked houses. Sky unflawed. Upon so much former strangeness a calm settles, glaze of custom to be neither shattered nor shattered by. Home. Home at last.

Years past—blind, tattering
wind, hail, tears—my head was in those clouds
that now are dark pearl in my head.

Open the shutters. Let variation
abandon the swallows one by one.
How many summer dusks were needed
to make that single skimming form!
The briefest firefly kindles to its type.
Here is each evening’s lesson. First
the hour, the setting. Only then
the human being, his clean shirtsleeve, anyone’s
chalked among treetrunks, round a waist,
or lifted in an entrance. Watch for him.
Be him.

Envoi for S.

Whom you saw mannerless and dull of heart,
Easy to fool, impossible to hurt,
I wore that fiction like a fine white shirt
And asked no favor but to act the part.