Angie Estes and Glori Simmons

Winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award in 2001

Rhapsody

by Angie Estes


No one says it
anymore, my darling,
not to the green leaves
in March, not to the stars
backing up each night, certainly
not in the nest
of rapture, who
in the beginning was
an owl, rustling
just after silence, whose
very presence drew
a mob of birds—flickers,
finches, chickadees, five cardinals
to a tree—the way a word
excites its meanings. Who
cooks for you,
it calls, Who looks
for you?
Sheaf of feathers, chief
of bone, the owl stands
upon the branch, but does he
understand it, think my revel,
my banquet, my tumult,
delight?
The Irish have a word
for what can't be
replaced: mavourneen, my
darling,
second cousin once
removed of memory, what is not
forgotten,
as truth was
defined by the Greeks.
It's the names
on the stones in the cemetery
that ring out like rungs
on a ladder or the past
tense of bells: Nathaniel Joy,
Elizabeth Joy, Amos
Joy and Wilder Joy,
and it all comes down
to the conclusion
of the cardinal: pretty, pretty, pretty
pretty
—but pretty what?
In her strip search
of scripture, St. Teresa
was seized, my darling, rapt
amid the chatter
and flutter of well-coiffed\
words, the owl
in the shagbark hickory,
and all the attending dangers
like physicians
of the heard.

* * *

Hand mit Ringen

                  —from Bertha Roentgen's hand X-ray
by Glori Simmons


This is my bone bound with your ring.
Hinged in brevity my hand fans,
My skin is a requiem. Remember me 1896.
In the gesture I beckon:

Enter my ghost's corridor & shipwreck.
Crawl between the piping of my satin casket.
Here are the keys dangling from my pelvis-
Touch my skeleton.
This is the way into my darkness
Where I inhume the whalebone beneath
The window then nestle into the pine box bed

To shroud myself with the less
Gentle sex. Slamming doors, letting the wind
Blow through my legs. Skull & cross-
Bone mad. Here, I vanish
Only to arrive days later, disheveled.
The X-ray's predilection for cells
Out of place suits me. This debridement
Is better than the old cinch & buttress.
Exhume my first wanton hologram:
The rat's nest & glass eye, my ten charred nails.

I am radiant.

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