In another garden, a poet’s brother had called the lark a fist
of blood & feathers; she couldn’t tell me that.
A shaman, failed, o my poor brother, she whispered for me to hear.
Low light had sprawled on feathers at the base of some soldier’s bronze,
abandoned chewed wing. Had fallen on some newly planted blood
brights, one ivory chip the gardener added to the bed, its Easter tulip.
On the heath, scene two : drop by drop-cloth, no magicians, no Lears
no fools, no daughters, more morning light—landscape hangings murmur,
after such dark—Gainsboroughs’ costumed static, or grief.
I borrowed a second poet. He led me to his favorite Lady Briscoe, for
her silver high-coiffed tragic—her beauty’s tag, a powdered chalk
that painted her naked throat. She’s a stopped animal, satin-fold sky. Bone.
She’s pale in the fashion that would kill her three weeks after that
portrait’s last stroke; it was the lead, buried in her chalk. Borrowed hand,
my poet leads with whispers for the sun—& April comes.
Blooming magnolia stellata, or lacei, speaks for warmed stars, first
snow’s falling lace of perfumes like coconut milk from islands I’m
missing. I’d make love with these branches hung for a ripening woman to bury
in, laugh in, twirl in. In front of God & everyone, my lips hurt every flower.
Here, a man made the night bird’s happiness immortal, & lyric raised its children.
Here, London. Here, heath & magnolia : an ancient genus
evolved before bees appeared, loved by starving beetles, all, crawling for its center.
I’m a woman of a certain age, deciding she’ll live. April at the poet’s razor.
This middle. This vast. “What thou among the leaves hast never known . . . ”