[Table of Contents]


Simone Muench



after Neruda

In this mouth I gather darkness, an aria,
rosewater tongue, tympanic bone,
a poem more quiet than quietness,
a bronze song, something undone, salvia,
a crushed butterfly.
It is the blood on a light bulb, the seventh sadness,
a fluctuation that closes oceans and eyes.
The vermilion and solitary luminary
shimmies and singes the feathers of the aviary.

Moon, the clock's word, dear mother, ruin, rain.



You will bind me
in an aquarelle, my skin
blue as Canterbury bells. Call me
mademoiselle before you execute, like the hand-
tinted photo of the dancer, Margarete Gertrud Zelle, arms
scissoring the air, fending bullets and flowers as she pirouettes.

You will find me
in the zero hour sipping
a whiskey sour with a cherry, my hair
yellow, not sallow or frizzed like Bishop's flower.
In a bell-shaped dress trimmed in snow-white florets, I smell
of fever, soil as I pose in the doorcase. You refer to me as daughter

of gnawed bones.
I am property of ________.
A profile in the slanted rain. I am
versatile. You call me Lily of the Nile, fingering
umbels as you scour the floor in search of my shadow. Hours
sift and flow and form a canted frame where you lean on one elbow

statuesque as a window
sash. You've captured me,
you say, mid-bloom, in your eye
frame, in the process of photograph and pose
and polyphonic prose, the kitchen lit by my ante-
bellum skirt, the yellow spikes of forsythia going up in flame.



These are excerpted from the chapbook, Notebook. Knife. Mentholatum., recently published by New Michigan Press, and available [here].