Saturday, April 16, 2005

IO & others

Some recent spring poems


Twice, I imagined her name called, once
when my lover came to visit, and then again,
in the root cellar where I strained in the dark
to listen among potatoes and onions.

Twice daily, I called out to her-- I O
toward the back pasture from which she came running
to enter the barn and charge into her stanchen
awaiting hay, and that greater reward, grain.

I squatted on a three-legged stool
tipping forward, my face pressed into her Jersey flank,
right forearm barring her feisty kicks
while I massaged hard udders to let down her milk.

Each time I heard or said her name,
I thought of that other cow driven insane
by furies when thoughts assailed my mind of L.
making me crazy--

Until a tension released itself through her milk’s flow
as I grasped two tits and the warm stream
poured out into the stainless steel bucket
and we both came into Egypt-- I, out of despair.


The Lilac Thief

This year I looked for lilacs
off the beaten track
in yards no longer tended –
It's in those forgotten places,
abandoned lots littered with debris,
broken shards and plastic bottles,
I find the deeper purple of old bushes--
their crushed bloomets falling into my arms
I snap from gnarled branches, the night already moist.
No one notices their heritage
plumage mingled with the weeds of choke
grass and mulberry stands grown unruly--
except for the local lilac thief,
that one, who stops to follow
the scent of unseen blossoms.


Nearing Summer Solstice

At Tires for Less on Route Nine
while waiting to exchange snow studs
for all season tires past the April deadline
--vehicle housekeeping--
A young skin head
with spider web surrounding his naked
elbow, strips each lug
which hits the floor as he moves on his haunches,
feral menace with a drill bit.
I pace the pavement
looking down at the Connecticut River.
At the edge of blacktop next to a field of low
lying wildflowers and scrub brush,
broken glass and butts. Two
monarchs catch my attention, then flecks
of orange move among purple cones,
a different butterfly, with fur edges.
This day is long and suddenly I have time
to wonder how it is they know to convene
in this dump by the hundreds--
oblivious of trucks and cars speeding past,
their movements counterpoint
to my noisy irritation, calmed a moment
until spider boy calls me over.

Jacqueline Gens