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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Piccola Elegia (Charles Wright)

L.G.: Requiescat

Nicky, the word has come to the west coast
of how you
shuffled your feet, stammered
and slipped out the back door

when no one was looking.
What did you have in mind?

* * * *

I picture myself back there,
in the kitchen, peering out
through the glass, then through the orchard, your shirt

a small red dot among
the apple trees that run down
the long slope: the water
glitters and flashes in

the cold sunlight; I try
to open the window, to tell you
to wait, to come back, but
it is too late, too
late in the day; already

the boat is adrift; it is
on fire; the flames
splash at the gunwales; and you
are smoke, Nicky, you are smoke.

Demonstration (Martha Zweig)

See, just so: one can pinch
Gently the cat’s paw exactly as
One pinches a snapdragon

For exactly the same intriguing
Spreading and opening, and curious
Yield to the fingers;

So that the toe’s sheath gives out
Smoothly its clear paw (not yet
Fierce, for the cat believes you are playing);

Whereupon the claw itself imagines
Fangs for the snapdragon,
Otherwise why such a congruence in
The great plan of things?

Each being necessary, the cat goes
Forever on paws which are flowers,
And, in the garden, the innocent summer
Dragons become literal.