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Marie C. Jones: Three Poems

The Link | Alba: A Wish | early time haunts the worm

The Link

Jewelry on Royal Street.
A gold cloisonné with garnet
and emerald cabochons,
Victorian rows of pearls,
onyx intaglios.

Frosted marvels of memory,
mort. Ivory Christ on a brass cross,
rapt, bored, absent—the nearby
reliquary craves knuckles of saints.

In a corner, a marble torso on velvet—
headless, armless—rests
on stumps, but the white breasts
ooze light, mimicking
the skin between your collarbones.

A centrifugal storm
speeds years away—
the night breeds sinewy whispers—
your long-forgotten, living voice
promising to lick my jaw line.

Alba: A Wish

Why not larks at dawn, love,
a soaring darkness, a pouring forth,
muse and minstrel spinning rapture
until the world is our tapestry,
the garden of Adonis, a spring?

But the last hour of night
witnesses your spiraling absence;
I alone ascend like an obelisk
roped into the heart of Paris.

You lock my breath in.
I miss you like a forest
rain. Once, I touched your navel,
listened to your severed pulse.

Goldfish, my nimble-hipped
Peruvian goat, when the gray geese
bob again on the sleepy European
sky during the small hours,
I hear you still.

early time haunts the worm

not raised in a house of glass
but in a house of lies
where even the doors’ shadows
had shadows

not hollow like the place between
the lyre’s strings where the wind
makes a nest but always a-stirring
at the periphery of visions

I ran even though I’d have preferred
to trickle gently from the fallen
leaves all through September
a month of swallows and bizarre ordeals
the self shedding itself thinner each day

told to behold my happiness
I found it crispy and black
O mother O warped oak
was it unreasonable to want
more of the sky than a nick
razored to life?

the cat licks his claws
and the rabbit—the rabbit
waits for no one we love

even as fever works its way
up and down the body’s streets
try to rejoice in the season
between knowledge and hunger
laughter loosens the sinews
of the mind: I know a truth or two
that should make a bear dance

did the mornings of my childhood
rattle winter’s doors like a snow
filled with the wind poetry sharpens?

throwing fistfuls of sleep
down the corridors of time
you have to break through or break
fistfuls of soul scatter on the beaches
of time the soul like a balloon
bounces but soon loses its wind

when the joints of time loosen
like a recanting noose
stop knowing what you want
and let the wanting know you

Poet's Biography:
  Marie C. Jones is a poet, teacher, visual artist, translator, and technical writer. She holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing (University of North Texas, 1999) and is the co-translator, in collaboration with Antoine Cazé, of La ville où je t’aime, a French translation of Li-Young Lee’s The City In Which I Love You, (Orléans: Le Pli, 2003). Her poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Denver Quarterly, Antioch Review, and many other journals. With Jean Roelke, she runs Basilisk Press (Denton, TX), which publishes artist’s books, as well as chapbooks by emerging poets and visual artists.

© 1999 - 2003, by the poets featured herein.