Switched-on Gutenberg Issue 16

Moths whisper in ears of acacia,
but trees are porous,
unable to speak
the language of wings.
The sky rolls open,
but I can't comprehend you
in the din of stars, chattering
diphthongs—red, yellow, blue.
The signal turns from red to green,
but the bus is empty,
a rectangular box on wheels,
turning left now, filled with light.
The west side of the street
is blocked to traffic,
but the rare female Jesus was lost,
the scroll torn, never understood.
My pajamas have leopard spots,
but rain tapped the house
all night, blurring the windows
of trains passing through.
A kettle whistles merrily
in a sunlit kitchen,
but dead fish float on the river
under a ragged moon.
The singer's dress is red,
but her voice is blue as a scrub jay
scavenging for sorrow
with only a raucous song.
The wine is cold and golden,
but the poem is opaque
as a crumbling plaster wall
in a photograph of old Havana.
A mitochondrion turns out ATP,
but fear is abundant
deep in the forest, surrounded
by a crossbill's call.
Anger is the duty of each citizen
confused in the desert,
but today the clouds are tattered,
the coffee bitter, wrong.
Once I was the joy of poppies
washed in sunlight,
but now a slender dove
calls ooah-ooo-oo-oo.
Yesterday light penetrated
all the twigs and branches,
but today I’m a china fragment,
the diamond's one flaw.

Copyright 2010,  Lucille Lang Day

Lucille Lang Day is the author of a children's book and eight poetry collections and chapbooks. She received her MFA in creative writing at SF State University and her PhD in science and mathematics education at UC Berkeley. For more information about her life and work, see http://lucillelangday.com.

<< Previous      Contents      Next   >>