Issue 22, Autumn-Winter 1959-1960
“Lift up in lilac-emerald breath the grail
Of earth again—
From charred and riven stakes, O
Saturday noon: the morning of the mind
Moves through a mist to breakfast: damp from sleep,
Rustic and rude, the partial self comes down
To face a frozen summer, self-imposed:
Then, as the numb shades lift, becomes aware
Of its other half, buried overhead,
A corpse in twisted sheets, a foggy portrait
Smudged in the bathroom mirror—elegies
Sung on the nerves of a pillow-muffled phone.
Nobody’s home at home, the house announces.
And the head nods, nobody’s home in here.
The bird of dawning silent all day long;
Nobody’s home to nobody abroad:
As cars curve past the house, taking themselves
For airings, while the drivers doze within;
Anonymous dogs chivvy the ghosts of cats
Safely locked in the basement. Apples nod
Their hard green heads, lost in a blur of leaves.
Last night, in the hot house, the self sang
Its oneness, in reflection of a love.
Now the cold fragments rise, remembering;
As feudal lieges move for a missing King
Shattered on plains of sleep, they summon armies:
The midget fingers, elbows, eyes and toes.
To patch again the china egg. And horses,
Masculine cavalry of the will, prance, pull
The egg, in cobweb harness, up the hill.
So the self trots upstairs, and reunites
With its lost half, by towelling off the mirror.
Reluctantly, the self confronts the self
Ripped, untimely, from its naked bed,
The winding sheets tossed down the laundry chute.
The room’s aroma: whiskey and ripe fruit
Stale with fulfillment, while picked flowers curl
Their lips, like suicides in brackish water,
Soiled Ophelias, whom no breath can fulfill.