Poetry / June 2012 (Issue 17)


by Donna Vorreyer

A paddlewheel turned against the sky and struck
a star in the shifting purple weight of midnight,
dropping it into the lap of a geisha, its cry a song
she could not answer, head stocked and cradled
into stillness, and it burned through her silks,
through her bedclothes, the wood of the floor,
through the pages of an atlas to the other side
of the world, tumbled to the foot of a Brazilian
waterfall and lay like a premonition in the cold,
waiting for morning when a girl with a braid
snaking down her brown back, stooping to pick
some sweet mint, spied it and tucked it into her
basket, offering it to her mother who brought it
as offering to the village patriarch, as vindication
from the accusations of her rivals, and he held it
in his palms like a prayer before he tossed it back
to the heat of the day where it rose and gathered
dappled light, became a slow constellationfirst
a fish, then an old man's headuntil it was night
again, the sky black as the sea, and the star sighed
to be back in its own skin, adrift and floating, no
longer an intruder in the strange and heavy world.
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