Poems of the Week


A poem for and against sonnets.

A breath of sea, the leaves of the peach tree are
Now thick, green, quick as a pack of minnows
When the wind picks up, they turn and lean, deathless—

The rugged yucca sways beneath the weight of its
own new growth, O’Keeffe-like gray-green explosions
of leaves like knives, deeply shadowed, venereal—

I’m thinking of the woman in Cries and Whispers
Thumb-pushing a piece of roken glass
Into the soil of her—innermost—cutting the
Depth of the lie (that she loved him, that they were,
Could it be, alive?). Entice and destroy, says the
Yucca. Our lawn chair flaps by

Like a Cubist chicken:
Be fruitful and hide.


I planted a scrawny oleander in the front plot,
Desdemona, unearthing first
a bed of violet beetles—they dispersed
like plump raindrops—
then a sleeping spider: gold, curled,
fleshy as an embryo—
inhaling the urban dirt. Yet
it was air that seemed to sting her.


Two finches, male and female
(he with his rose chest, wanting attention),
ride the thinnest branches of the peach tree
almost clumsily in the inconstant wind.

Just this week the buds have started peeling,
unfolding petals of the gentlest pink—
diaphanous signals. (can’t avoid it:

Incredible, everything so always

*all from Dying for Beauty, Copper Canyon Press, 2000.

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