Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Medea's Other Child

A dozen years in seasons of days
sweeping light across the girl-child's

eyes unaccustomed to the night.
A kind of wisdom. (I dream of her

in the dark, my darkness, a stage.)
Slight, stooped, dusty, bare feet worrying

the roots of tumbleweeds and fruited bramble
growing in spurts, untended. Father

a conquering hero, liar and cheat,
gone for good. Mother spending time

waiting on men, waiting on tables
in a greasy cafe, the sorceress still,

dyed hair piled high as a crown upon
a furrowed brow. Passion spent in a rush

like the nouveau riche spend: all fleece and rubies.
In the end there's nothing for the kid

but spidery afternoons alone
imagining desire, throbbing

and hot as a black widow's bite,
consuming her flesh against her will.

originally published in Mississippi Valley Review, Spring 1994

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Death's young, lush, smooth skinned, canny,
posed au naturel, cocoa belly
down on an improvised divan, eyes

rolled back to study Gauguin (who
flatters himself she's scared of him). Slapping
liverish paint to a faux

background, fantasy blooms
where the native truth would be: an endless
queue of stunted men,

shuffling forward, shifting dumbly
outside thatched huts infested with fleas.
Inside Death squirms, ever horny, flexing

moist pink lips as if he were a child,
slow to see where to fix his bristling
prick, bury Art, take his pleasure now.

originally published in the G.W. Review, spring 1999

Monday, March 1, 2010


You disappear so beautifully.
Eyes wide, perfectly aligned,

as if you could see, as if
Matisse's joy

might be happiness...the azure/
pumpkin/scarlet fields set

lightly inside his penciled outline.

The main star shines, no glare.
And it's possible that

somewhere less frantic
charged particles

rest before they exit.

But blonde light, like a starlet's
hair, sweeps all things

equally: calamity rests,
fallow in the field.

And the north-bred yearling hawk

looms motionless, like a stuffed
& mounted version of himself.

Watching. Shadowless. Red eyes wide
& perfectly aligned. And then,

when it's time, he just disappears.

originally published in the Minnetonka Review