Of the Irresolubleness of Diamonds

Monica Ferrell
If my love for you were a teacup,
I would praise it for its blue. I’d consider
Its delicate handle, the pictures painted there
Of ladies, of their parasols.
But my love is not a teacup,
 
It is not even the tar pit from which we draw
Fodder for the desolate streets, oh lightless at night,
Oh pathways asking for feet and their memory,
It is not even a tugboat going
Bravely into morning, carrying cordage and salt,
 
Nor that saddest, sickest animal
In the zoo, carious, mangy, whose hair molts,
Who with its wounds sits in the bare
Hay-padded corner of a cell and licks
At the question of what it means to be here.
 
Yet in winter my love is covered with the brightness
Of snow, in winter my love is filled with eyes.
It waits for me at the block’s edge,
Habitual dog, who walks me back into that gaseous
Entity we call life. Others’ loves may wink and smile
 
Like the moon through a resurrection of vapors,
Like the coy and barbarous moon, who knows no allegiance.
But my love is more like an ice sculpture
In a country of perpetual coldness, which the heat
Of your anger cannot damage, nor the pick
 
Of your words impugn. Now
Lay your worry aside from you, stranger,
Put your hands near these curves: do you feel
That hallowed temperature? Among my people
We call this absolute love.
 

More by Monica Ferrell

Rime Riche

You need me like ice needs the mountain 
On which it breeds. Like print needs the page.
You move in me like the tongue in a mouth,
Like wind in the leaves of summer trees,
Gust-fists, hollow except for movement and desire
Which is movement. You taste me the way the claws
Of a pigeon taste that window-ledge on which it sits,
The way water tastes rust in the pipes it shuttles through
Beneath a city, unfolding and luminous with industry. 
Before you were born, the table of elements 
Was lacking, and I as a noble gas floated 
Free of attachment. Before you were born, 
The sun and the moon were paper-thin plates 
Some machinist at his desk merely clicked into place.

Anatomy

Man shaped out of mud
And made to speak and love—
Let's stick in him a little whisperer,

A bucket with two holes.
Let's give him the Great Deceiver,
A blood-stone.

A church with a vaulted ceiling
Where the White and Blue Niles meet.
A dog who cries after dark.

Everyone has a heart,
Even the people who don't.
It floats up like a beached whale in the autopsy.

The heart has no sense of humor.
It offers itself piteously like a pair of handcuffs,
And is so clumsy that we turn away.

The past 
Is a quarryful of marble statues
With heads and genitals erased,

But the heart is a muscle made of sharkbone and mutters,
Resting place softened with hay
Where all the cows come home, finally.

Poetry

There is nothing beautiful here
However I may want it. I can’t
Spin a crystal palace of this thin air,
Weave a darkness plush as molefur with my tongue
However I want. Yet I am not alone
In these alleys of vowels, which comfort me
As the single living nun of a convent
Is comforted by the walls of that catacomb
She walks at night, lit by her own moving candle.
I am not afraid of mirrors or the future
—Or even you, lovers, wandering cow-fat
And rutting in the gardens of this earthly verge
Where I too trod, a sunspot, parasol-shaded,
Kin to the trees, the bees, the color green.

Related Poems

Apology

To know nothing     of living things

       Those that exist often

Beside us              Hello, she says

       & does it hear, do you?

Days, nights, watching a stranger's heart

       Stumble against his skin

It wants out, and the body

       Is a flesh dress he'll take off

Only once, at the last

       Hello, she says

Our heart is on exhibit

       Walk around our common institute 

Of higher learning