Joy Olivia Yourcenar
All The King’s Horses
You remember Humpty Dumpty,
that famous head case,always wall falling,
and wonder if you misplaced
his displaced noggin
until now jogged gently along,
pure Pysanky, laced with
delicate blue vein tracery,
to be carried by design
in your finest take care spoon.
Resisting the urge
to recount his fingers and toes,
and walk fast with him
sunny side up
toward the finish line,
on his hard shell,
your good egg.
Casa de las sangrientas
Waiters sambaed through the restaurant
discreetly pouring lemon water into iced glasses.
The smell of fresh cilantro was distracting.
I remember whole peaches,
subtle as baby cheeks in a red dish,
and licentious napkins folded into hats.
I stared at the woven tablecloth,
wondered how they got the salsa stains out.
You complained I was not listening
and cut my hand off with your butter knife.
I could not answer,
mesmerized by the contrast
of the fluid red arc on the white linen.
The carnal house band struck up a lush rumba
but, as usual, we did not dance.
Cars and courier vans glide through the panorama
of my doubled reflection. My daughter pretends
I’m her private video projected on the night.
Sometimes we star together, lit by the supernovenas
of beeswax taper halos, mutable portrait
of Madonna with gap-toothed child grinning.
I am filled with snow and trees, I contain auras of street lights
Framed by sliding glass doors, I drape this winter night
like a shawl around my shoulders, shimmer in the wind
of all that’s common, cold and fine, rejoicing
in the traffic and the bone street, salt bleached.
The nut-laced smell of loam pervades the root cellar;
here, the air is cool, damp, redolent with the scents
of herb bunches hanging on the highest beams.
Miscreant, we pull the whitewashed door closed
from the inside and lie on the chill, dirt floor,
trace our initials in the swept clay, talk in feral whispers.
We are hiding among the bushel baskets of cabbages
and hulking winter squash, tucked behind barrels
brimming with red potatoes and purple onions.
She will not find us here behind the neatly labeled rows
of Ball jars filled with tomatoes, fiddlehead and flat green beans.
She thinks I fear the dark and small places more than her.
We use the time to watch a black and yellow spider
repair her web, to plot impossible escapes to distant lands.
We are hiding from the graphic accusation
of two muddy footprints defiling her virgin white couch,
the pristine carpet we are not allowed to set foot upon.
We are hiding from a dare flung down, my sister's gauntlet
taunting me to cross ten feet of pale temptation,
picked up, only to be dropped again when, handwalking,
gravity betrayed me, barely leaning. I slipped
from line to slope to arc, the slight tilt
touching my silt glazed sneakers to my embossed velvet doom.
She will not care I almost made it.
Nattering On The Sublime
Epiphanies of pyramid stacked Fisher snow plow blades
undulating yellow against a red brick wall
chased me all the way home from the Chevy dealership.
Chest burning, I burst into your kitchen,
and tried to articulate the fury of my after school vision,
to recreate, for you, my red gold glimpse into the sublime.
Through your rippling incomprehension, I heard
the gradual silencing of every gypsy mandolin.
By the time you looked up from doing dishes
to remind me to take off my sneakers in the house,
reticence had grown in me like a corruption of black pearl.
-all poems previously printed in Demeter’s Harvest