Doves, spiders, horses and leopards, a marmoset – all manner of creatures accompany Lucie Brock-Broido through the dazzling thicket of imagination and dense reality, the life both interior and exterior, of her latest collection, Stay, Illusion. In these poems, such animal spirits help us carry the burden of the human, and introduce other possibilities, other modes of travel or attitudes of being, as in “Bird, Singing,” below. (Enjoy the printable broadside of this poem by clicking here, and watch for other broadsides throughout the month.)
Then, every letter opened was an oyster
Of possible bad news, pried apart to reveal
The imperfect probable pearl of your death.
Then, urgent messages still affrighted me, sharp
Noises caused the birds not yet in flight to fly.
Then, this was the life of you.
All your molecules
Gathered for your dying off
Like mollusks clinging to a great ship’s hull.
Ceremony of wounds, tinned,
Tiny swaddled starlings soaked in brine.
A bird, singing in his wicker cage, winds down.
Now, a trestle table lined with wooden platters
Neat with feathered wings of quail tucked-in.
Until you sever the thing, from self, it feels.
Thereafter it belongs to none.
You have nothing to be afraid of, anymore.
Outside Prague, I find you warm
Among the million small gold bees set loose
In April’s onion show, quietly
Quietly, would you sing this back to me, out loud?
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