Margaret Wohl

Winner of the Louise Louis / Emily F. Bourne Student Award in 2001

Flowers for Ophelia

The traditional choice
would be lilies—a symphony
of uncurling emptiness.
Their twisting lines present
a proud call-and-response
rising architecturally
above your fingers,
still redolent of rivers.
Pale spaces have no place
here, in your heavy disjunction.
Their arch beauty is not akin
to the calm that has settled
on your still tear-strained face
as you lie half-swallowed
in the merciless succor
of white.

Rose of May you were,
passionately curled
and savior-seeking between sheets.
Perhaps angels were capable
of perceiving the opalescent blood
slipping unchecked and caught
by your trembling skin.
There's a wrapped secret on an aura
December with its wild thorns
could never comprehend or collapse,
and you slip inside
simple as a sip of water,
and in that shivering calm
what dreams may come

Orchids mingled with
your opiate hair, and in
your dress, floating leaden
and enamored of your unmade form.
That purple was your steam,
made out of harshness
and gifted to you in a blank-breathed haze.
It shrouded its star-wrapped
victim in you, transfiguring
into a blossom-crying frost.

Falling violets filled the space
of your lost bones,
quaking you like an uncrossed sea.
No eau-de-vie can illuminate
those unpaled eyes, forging
a concave frame. The cry
of a newbroken child
can be no more misbegotten
than your coppery waterwithering.

Wind had wintered you,
to find an echo in
a break of rosemary.
Stripped of marbled skin,
you must have been wrecked,
a lined supernaturate, perfumed
with a tangy scent
of past everlastings.
It calls back to you
willow-arched from,
lips parted perhaps
in a final aquatic inhalation,
or attempting to loose
one last raw chord:
cry rosemary, and I shall remember
past a thousand everlastings

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