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ISSUE:  Fall 2013

I. Koi

Within the hush of birch medallions,
fir fingers, wild scallions—
that company of dancers held
in a spell of postures before breeze—

Beneath the Mennonite quilt
of cabbages, sugar peas, raspberries,
greenhouse grapes, and lettuces,
embellishment of rose trellises—

In the Japanese garden sunken
like a jewel, they swirled in a pool
lipped with shells of pearl and amethyst
morose as mandarin ghosts—

Eyes bulging at the end of tangerine
hammerheads backed in golden foil,
tails swishing slow as harem fans
through someone else’s Eden.

II. Virgin Forest

Resisting the pull of earth, the cedars’ breath
soured by carcasses; steeled
by pools in alder where bears and cougars drank;

so as not to become too elfin, not to succumb
to flowers of ground-rot, nor hear
the floor jitter armor of millipedes

and maggots warring to devour pelts; nor err
on the side of svelte toadstools,
white helmets drawn down in mounds of mold;

or think the weird tune of fungus (silent, fibrous
footprints) lovelier than trumpets
of ferns selected by a shaft of sun as one

imagines the elect suddenly stunned in cathedrals,
spines arched to collect and spill
illumination back into themselves,
she went in.


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