Selected poems

Dreaming of peacocks
Eurydice woke one morning
from a dream of peacocks,
the breath of night caught in the valley—
a loosened veil drifting upward
to the sun’s first chimes.

A peacock had sat on her palm
pledging itself as her familiar,
its feathers scattering blue light;
stern as a miniature angel,
a fierce-eyed emissary.

A peacock in the palm of her hand,
hatched from a Fabergé egg;
its feathers the turquoise scales
of the rarest Amazonian butterfly,
the purest of pure notes.

Like no dress she had ever worn
even to the most serious ball—
the young girls in their plumage
of anticipation, fanning their skirts
above their anklebones.

A flock of birds of paradise
held in a jewelled net of music,
beating impetuous wings,
baring their shoulders to endearments,
their untested throats.

A glass peacock in her hand,
bluer than the shadow of an iceberg,
its twofold heartbeat a flaw in the crystal,
sound beyond sound, a harmonic
like the farthest call.

She saw it was lame and forlorn;
infirmity blossomed between them.
She offered her discarded stilettos,
for which it expressed gratitude
in the way of animals.

Published in 2013 in Poetry Salzburg Review 23



The seeds

Photograph by Wolfgang Mezger

I dreamed last night that you were dead –
you whom I once knew well and loved unwisely –
and I with another old friend
discovered, in your desk, two envelopes.

One, on the back, listed all the kisses
you had ever had – and maybe other intimacies –
with dates, ambiguous initials, grades,
in the small notation I remember.

The other held a dusty mix of flower seeds
collected on your travels.
They smelled of residue: of moth
and husks and thickened lees
and fragments of burned letters.

Our friend wanted to scatter them
to the rough occasion of the wind
in keeping with the way he saw you.
I argued for a wild, guerrilla garden.

I have not yet settled on the place
and do not know if they will germinate
or flower, or what they would look like if,
somehow and startlingly, they did.