Thursday, May 1, 2014

Outward Signs of Inward Grace

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty–

Crossing Brooklyn Bridge, Katya from the Ukraine
is on her way to meet Amy, who’s waiting to sublet
her Williamsburg walk-up. Amy will summer in her
other home, the small but satisfying two-story
deep within the North Carolina woods,

. . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf,
a door. And of all the forgotten faces.
. . . O lost, and by the wind grieved,
ghost, come back again. . . .

whereupon Katya saying goodbye recalls her pleasure
meeting the fiery-eyed lovely who tricked
to learn what it was to write a novel
based on being a businesswoman so young
she either forgot the man or enjoyed him . . .

Understand: we have
grown into one as we slept and
now I can’t jump
because I can’t let go your hand.

The pages are published and the words taped
that Katya’s reading, returning to the Ukraine,
and on the way to Italy, hears Amy reciting.
On her birthday, Katya writes: Amy, I have no car
with Venice so close I’m sad I cannot swim that far.

And the sun goes down in waves of ether
in such a way that I can’t tell
if the day is ending, or the world,
of if the secret of secrets is inside me again.

(Italicized four-line passages are, consecutively, by Hart Crane; Thomas Wolfe;
Marina Tsvetayeva, trans. Elaine Feinstein; Anna Akhmatova, trans. Jane Kenyon.)

(1 May 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

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