Chimera Song Mosaic
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Happy Iranian New Year!

I'm worried I didn't get the right kind of bulbs, the forcing kind, because the stalks haven't yet escaped their leaf sheaths, and the flowers haven't yet opened. Still, I can't wait to smell them. I can already smell them a little.

Here is my hyacinth poem, written in Montana, where I first started growing hyacinths. The poem came out in an issue of Pierogi Press (volume five, Spring/Summer 2000, edited by Susan Swenson). I haven't seen Pierogi Press in a long time, but I should look for it. It's based in Brooklyn.

Saint Augustine

I won't wake, but be awakened--by a call,
or hyacinth, or heat. My feet don't move

they scull & skim like silvered needles.
I'll bind them, use my arms when I swim the ocean

at the level beneath just breathable
oxygen. Surrounded by a rare reticulum

of paths--so many wormholes. I tried to knit
my lungs in air too thin, too dry to wet

my tongue. I tried to clean the green pith from beneath
my nails. I have smelled hyacinths in glass jars,

learned their obsequious musk, prayed
the dusty crystals of their petals

until their husks were under my skin,
the prickly, the feverish, miserable poisons.

At low air, I once pruned and pinioned my lungs.
They lapped the briny tonic, were stoked

in heavy oxygen. In the front yard, elephant
ears dip like waxy parasols beneath sterling

beauties and climbing blue girls,
& the smooth, thick fingers of st. augustine

cool in the wind & the sun goes down, again
I am in the shade of my own planet.

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