First there was the blue wing
of a scraggly loud jay tucked
into the shrubs. Then the bluish-
black moth drunkenly tripping
from blade to blade. Then
the quiet that came roaring
in like the R. J. Corman over
Broadway near the RV shop.
These are the last three things
that happened. Not in the universe,
but here, in the basin of my mind,
where I’m always making a list
for you, recording the day’s minor
urchins: silvery dust mote, pistachio
shell, the dog eating a sugar
snap pea. It’s going to rain soon,
close clouds bloated above us,
the air like a net about to release
all the caught fishes, a storm
siren in the distance. I know
you don’t always understand,
but let me point to the first
wet drops landing on the stones,
the noise like fingers drumming
the skin. I can’t help it. I will
never get over making everything
such a big deal.
From The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) by Ada Limón. Copyright © 2018 by Ada Limón. Used with the permission of Milkweed Editions. milkweed.org.
You think I like to stand all day, all night, all any kind of light, to be subject only to wind? You are right. If seasons undo me, you are my season. And you are the light making off with its reflection as my stainless steel fins spin. On lawns, on lawns we stand, we windmills make a statement. We turn air, churn air, turning always on waiting for your season. There is no lover more lover than the air. You care, you care as you twist my arms round, till my songs become popsicle and I wing out radiants of light all across suburban lawns. You are right, the churning is for you, for you are right, no one but you I spin for all night, all day, restless for your sight to pass across the lawn, tease grasses, because I so like how you lay above me, how I hovered beneath you, and we learned some other way to say: There you are. You strip the cut, splice it to strips, you mill the wind, you scissor the air into ecstasy until all lawns shimmer with your bluest energy.
From Fragment of the Head of a Queen by Cate Marvin. Copyright © 2007 by Cate Marvin. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books. All rights reserved.
Fireflies careening the fields regardless
of charm, without attention, jesters slid
into the sea and time was forthcoming.
There was a story being told.
The lake asked nothing. (It was late
and certainty required that you talk less
or at the very least move over.) Under
the song he said ‘no more peonies’
buttoned the door back on its frame, the
street a ceremony in and of itself which
made cars implements, plain miracles
capsizing baskets in candied fields.
The men and women were useful, abolishing
daisies, and every time the band plays
I’m Ursula wondering still at the door
a terminal of the face (such is any incident
on the way home) a field of aftermaths,
a horizon because of boats.
Cloth begot embrace while television
considered fish, flowers by Mary and the
fonts belonging to the post office coterie.
While the room is recreated and the woods
are just outside, denouncing, there’s styled
behavior in the country in the city nonetheless,
there are sermons in the sky, tonight, whole
haggled systems, photographs abiding and
I create nothing, I broke his collarbone
and went away, listened to a song and pulled
the world up around my head. Today is a long
time in any number of places we don’t go.
No one says thank you. They get older and
they fake it whether or not we’re there.
Copyright © 2015 by Amanda Nadelberg. Used with permission of the author.
At home, the bells were a high light-yellow with no silver or gray just buttercup or sugar-and-lemon. Here bodies are lined in blue against the sea. And where red is red there is only red. I have to be blue to bathe in the sea. Red, to live in the red room with red air to rest my head, red cheek down, on the red table. Above, it was so green: brown, yellow, white, green. My longing for red furious, sexual. There things were alive but nothing moved. Now I live near the sea in a place which has no blue and is not the sea. Gulls flock, leeward then tangent and pigeons bully them off the ground. Hardly alive, almost blind-a hot geometry casts off every color of the world. Everything moves, nothing alive. In the red room there is a sky which is painted over in red but is not red and was, once, the sky. This is how I live. A red table in a red room filled with air. A woman, edged in blue, bathing in the blue sea. The surface like the pale, scaled skin of fish far below or above or away—
From Eating in the Underworld by Rachel Zucker. Copyright © 2003 by Rachel Zucker. Reproduced by permission of Wesleyan University Press. All rights reserved.