Thursday, July 23, 2009

QUEEN

Here, have another poem that's still kinda rough around the edges, particularly in the title department. And would you please comment?


QUEEN


I was reading comfortably until the queen in my book
asked me plainly if I could hear her well enough.
She had just lost a child. It was Rome before Caesar
and she lived in a thick stone palace built up
behind the scabby hillsides rising out of the Mediterranean.
Death snuck in like an ivy tendril and took her baby boy
the way a flower takes water—that’s how she described it.

I didn’t answer her question, but I paused briefly
before going on reading. She went back to tending her fire,
a task meant for servants but she took great pleasure in it,
jabbing the black logs with an ugly bronze sword
whose tip scraped raw white lines in the soot.
She stopped once more and asked how I came to understand her,
did I speak Latin? Her voice was heating up

and I couldn’t tell if she would weep or fling a cinder at me.
I clenched the piece of yarn I used to mark my place.
My little grey cat looked down from the study window, anxious.
But the queen seemed to lose her concentration again
and started a lovely meditation on laurel groves.
I shut the book gently and put my feet down in the shallow river
swirling through my house—a choice I’d made over traditional carpet.

It’s only knee deep from the study to my bedroom.
My cat jumps easily from sill to sill to nightstand,
and we curl up in bed like pearls on the oyster’s tongue.
The cat falls asleep quickly, it’s as good as waking for her,
but I watch flying fish jump over my dresser for hours.
The doves outside my window are relentless with their cooing,
always asking to be let in, always wanting to drink.


...

1 comment:

Amy, Bryan and Zoey said...

This could be two poems: one about the Queen talking to you from the story, and one about your unconventional choice of flooring in your home. ;-) I like!