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The Hunters Enter The Scene

The day cast a spell

Where by ascending so many stones

I could not leave the center garden

Where my children lay

Muttering about the hell mouth

Where a muscular sense of heaven

The bright depressive colors

Kept me tacked to the wall

In the space of the poem

The dogs will eat the unicorns

With their placid gore

Calm and sure of themselves, like time

Where the Bishop

With half his body missing

Holds his right hand

Perhaps in something like a peace sign

I ask my lover, where did the left go

His own head is rounded

With grotesque metals

His soul, a colorless glass

He has conquered his religion

With three inward fires

And when he sits in the room

Fits the figure of a king

He is a man of sorrows

Made of ferns and tiny succulents

Made of wood in the shape of fabric

Made of marble in the shape of wood

In him I remember another

Taking me to the olive tree

In the western arboretum

His refinement of stars

I thought of the ancient story

Where the two lovers turned into stars

I imagined a sort of magic

Of becoming an olive tree for all eternity

For my king, could I be more loving

I bring him my sour oranges

Piling and heaping orange fruit

All over my body

Draping russet red cloth

Over my endless hair

Anointing my body with figs

All just to make him love me

Burning what is between us

Into smoking angry holes

His beard no longer red and grey

But Jove-like and neon green

My love, he sits in tiny firs

Holding two cream serpents

They form a crown around him

And I kneel forever, and kiss his crown

What is life, but an endless purple fire

I draw my sword up into the air

It’s hard to admit cosmic love

If only he let himself be free


The Weather

We never thought it was the weather that wasn’t going to be ok

And instead worried about the bombs or our ice cream

We didn’t think everything could melt like this

But it did, and so quickly

I didn’t think the baby would leap out of the bed

When I had done everything to keep him bundled

But it happened right before my eyes

They all said: it’s your fault

So I apologized as much as possible

No one knew now, but I’d been apologizing since I’d been born

There’s a lot to be sorry for

Like this poem

I tried to stop myself from writing it

But it’s not poetry that’s the problem

And when I saw that I’d always be alone

I asked the snow to keep on falling

But I am the kind of person

Who can’t control everything

The earth landed on its head

And scurried away from us

And everything fell into a kind of hell of bright colors


Photo credit: Sylvie Rosokoff

DOROTHEA LASKY is the author of seven books of poetry and prose, including Animal (Wave Books, 2019). Her poems have appeared in the Paris Review, The Nation, and The New Yorker. She is currently an associate professor of poetry at Columbia University School of the Arts, where she directs the poetry program.


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