|Stephen Kuusisto [Steve Sartori]|
Letter to Borges in His Parlor
What will become of you
With your Anglican heart and old furniture?
Are you waiting for insects at the geraniums?
What is there to love anymore, my friend?
Some days I, too, don’t feel like going out.
Secluded with my gramophone
I play “Flores purisimas,” zarzuela,
Caruso — over and over.
Once, years ago, I got lost in the vast cemetery of Milan.
I had my dog; I was taking roses to Toscanini’s tomb.
It was an ordinary day,
Men were digging graves.
Confounded in the ballyhoo Italien,
The tombs carved like sailing ships,
I talked to perfect strangers:
Women alone with grief,
Men walking “on doctor’s orders.”
It is good, Borges, to have a mission, don’t you agree?
Letter to Borges from New York City
You can get lost between heartbeats and strangers will know.
I climbed out of a carriage at Central Park and I heard a man speaking Russian to his horse.
I was lost just then and believed the cabman’s horse
Knew full well my predicament.
I suspected the horse was staring into the late autumn sun.
I heard two men arguing about how to carry a sheet of glass when the wind is fierce.
We are never far from the circus or the general belief in alchemy.
On Fifth Avenue, Paracelsus still makes his living selling thimbles and miniature Greek flags.
Letter to Borges from Syracuse
Down where the great tenor must have felt it, under my left-side low rib
There was a green fruit, a pear of the mind, moonlit, cold and wet.
I felt it early, bending to the paper, just a curve
From the torso, a twist
That was not me, do you understand? I called to a bird
In the catalpa, called it bird-wise, soft
But to no effect. I was rich,
Alive, with nowhere to go, fruit from a dream
Hanging where my lungs and diaphragm met.
I wanted to stay there always,
Do you understand? My blindness was just a nuisance.
The pear, an unworldly thing.
Swayed, understand, and grew on nothing.
|Rosamond Purcell [The Compass Rose]|