Poems Page 11


Who's the noble lady, her mantilla spread,
Perching on a squadron of the living dead?
Chamois on the Pyrenees can see her pass,
Marble as a mountain and as smooth as brass,
Lovely as a goddess's her lofty mien
Effortless as breezes is the weightless queen

Levitating underneath, the witches three:
Indifference, vindictiveness and vanity -
Massive as her majesty is spare and light,
Poltergeistic movers of her magic flight,
Dynamos of power over lovesick men,
Surreptitious sisters of this courtesan

Tucking up their dresses underneath their knees,
Heavy as her solitude they hum like bees

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Has the missing one returned
Or has the earth been forked and turned?
What face is that beneath the hood
What decomposed decrepitude?

What corpse or wizened revenant
What emanation, vile and bent -
They have their dreams but you have yours
What mothers know a child ignores

But what they dream you may not see
Until a midnight comes to be
When shadows of the light beyond
The open door stream through room

But who is it? She knows the face -
Why do you come, and from what place?
The little ones know something more:
That something passes through a door

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Still you won't go down, you won't lie down,
You're bending back and straining, standing now,
Levering the slab that held you, pressed
Its bone-distorting burden to your chest

Stay where you belong, dread carrion,
Renegade against decay, you putrid one,
Let it go, you terrify us all -
Fold yourself again, let darkness fall

If only we could hear a trumpet tongue,
Recall pure and powerful, lie down!
Back! You were not summoned, so we cry:
Gather you to what you were and die

We beg of you, insurgent, we demand -
Lie down in your grave and do not stand!
'I will not die for then I go alone -
Never - someone help me raise this stone.'

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