Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kathleen Peirce

Kathleen Peirce [pic by George Krauss]

from Kathleen Peirce’s Mercy, Pittsburgh, 1991:


Reception is a gesture of the will
opening, one peach rose widening the light, or
rain finally taking the abandoned room,
the walls newly alive with water, and the ceiling
raining. It must have been happening a long time;
the random, jewel-colored bottles on the floor
swallowing the intermittent drops to a point approaching fullness,
then over full, and every surface here is changed, bigger,
touched too much by something wonderful
and ruinous. She would hardly tell you how bakery cakes call to her,
but look; the tiniest prettiest woman, a decoration
for a cake, was saved inside the cupboard by the sink. One arm
is raised. The smallest spider imaginable has linked her as an object
to a world full of things, a strand at each hinge: shoulder,
elbow, wrist, and mouth, obedient to hunger, and the room falling in.

Forcing Amaryllis

The amaryllis opening two faces to the room
is slow, too slow to see, but broader every hour,
still and quick. Neither bloom is more true,
nor a different color than the other. Each faces away
from its twin to show us half would be enough, though
both are far too red to make one think of compromise,
and, seemingly too big for what they are, they are
unnerving, sprung from the top of a pole.
But here is an untwisting followed by
a bending at the neck, two gestures from a pure belief,
and color to remember it with, a thing to see, proof
of an opposite climate.
Out, past the window where the whole thing leans,
the neighbor’s bull is standing, black in snow
between two empty trees. I see him breathe. Now I see
how the two blooms look suspended just above him there, a wish
made twice, two scarves that have been falling down from God
all day. If I lift up they can touch, two
trumpets, two faces, two funnels of bright blood.

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