Poems of the Week

14 Feb

LAURA KASISCHKE

Riddle

I am the mirror breathing above the sink.
There is a censored garden inside of me.
Over my worms someone has thrown

a delicately embroidered sheet.

And also the child at the rummage sale—

more souvenirs than memories.

I am the cat buried beneath
the tangled ivy. Also the white
weightless egg
floating over its grave. Snow

where there were leaves. Empty
plastic cups after the party on the beach.

I am ash rising above a fire, like a flame.
The Sphinx with so much sand
blowing vaguely in her face. The last

shadow that passed
over the blank canvas
in the empty art museum. I am

the impossibility of desiring
the person you pity.
And the petal of the Easter lily—

The ghost of a tongue.
That tongue of a ghost.

What would I say if I spoke?

Pharmacy

A knife plunged into the center
of summer. Air

and terror, which become teeth together.

The pearl around which the sea
formed itself into softly undulating song—

This tender moment when my father
gives a package of cookies to my son.

They have been saved
from the lunch tray
for days.

Hook
in a sponge. The expressions on both of their faces. A memory I will carry
with me always, and which will sustain me, despite all the years I will try to
prescribe this memory away.

The Key to the Tower

There was never
There was never
A key to the tower

There was never a key to the tower, you fool

It was a dream
It was a dream
A mosquito’s dream

A mosquito dreaming in a cage for a bird

It’s October
It’s October
The summer’s over

Your passionate candle in a pumpkin’s head
And the old woman’s hand in this photograph
Appears to be nailed to the old man’s hand

And the sky
And the sky
And the sky above you

Is a drunken loved one asleep in your bed

And the tower
And the tower
And the key to the tower

There was never a key to the tower I said

And this insistence
This insistence
It will only bring you sorrow

Your ridiculous key, your laughable tower

But there was
There was
A tower here

I swear

And the key
And they key
I still have it somewhere

*all from Space, in Chains, Copper Canyon Press, 2011

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