Ami Kaye

 

Ami Kaye

 

(India-France-USA)

 

 

 

Mirabai

 

He knows her by the fire,

her pale network of scars glows

in the untameable crimson.

 

Mira’s rebel tears, unable to move

the hearts of her dead husband’s family,

melt the lone candle.

 

A woven rope of silk—their noose—begins

to curl in the damp

like the wings of a wounded bird.

 

Their cunning plot to fill the brim

for her to drink from lustrous bronze

and copper-plated pots is foiled.

 

A shallow beating purples her pulse,

hemlock flows

beneath her white veil,

 

but echoes of her ghungaru are steady

after drinking from the poisoned chalice.

She dances and dances.

 

Deep at midnight,

silver bells around her ankles

amplify her song.

 

Even Rana’s gift with its deadly fangs,

fails to distract her from the dance.

 

Hot winds boldly lift her veil

to the moon’s brooding gaze.

 

A lonely star throbs like a firefly,

too dim to light the night,

still, she keeps dancing.

 

He passes by her, memorizing every movement,

the heated rhythm of her hennaed feet,

the entreaty in her eyes.

 

A sudden caress ruffles

loose tendrils of her hair.

 

Her blue-skinned lord leaves no trace,

for only mortals cast shadows.

 

From her incandescent lips,

Mirabai’s ecstasy reverberates

in his ears; he recognizes and

accepts the gift.

 

*****

 

 

 

Chanson d’Amour

 

We’re here again. Our favorite city,

where I was born, where we

 

walk on cobblestones as the Notre Dame

wavers upside-down in the green waters.

 

A Bateau Mouche glides past the banks of the Seine,

under the sculpted bridge of long vanished legends,

 

and on the way we buy two city sketches,

impossibly red trees their only spot of color.

 

We stop at a bistro for déjeuner. While I study the menu

you slip away and pay a street musician

 

to serenade me with an Edith Piaf song.

We smile at the cliché but La Vie En Rose reels us in.

 

We dart in the drizzle to the Métro,

catch “C’est  Formidable” at the Pigalle.

 

As your hand reaches for mine, you knock over

a crystal glass, but I don’t mind

 

the splash on my stole. It’s a baptism

of sorts, by verre de vin rouge.

 

Even later, we sit in the Sainte-Chapelle cathedral,

its stained glass windows opening us to the sky.

 

Notes of ancient reeds and organ pipes

hold us hostage until the last note is played.

 

Soon we find ourselves in Île Saint-Louis for Bertillion’s glaces.

Chocolate Blanc duels pistache for our taste buds. Chocolat wins.

 

Walking back through almost empty streets,

we hear a humming lullaby. Paris belongs to us.

 

Borrowed from evening’s concert, the dark rose

of your kiss topples me further into the night.

 

We lean on Pont Marie and wonder how copper sneaks

beneath the edge of dawn, so cleverly.
 

 

 
Song of the Blade

 

Naissance

 

In the bite of peat bogs where mists shroud the sea, I borrow my silver from the moon’s nimbus. Veiled in mystery and legend, forged in the ironsmith’s heat, I was hammered into existence under a winter moon as sparks flew from a whetstone. Tempered, annealed, of magic and steel, my gem-encrusted hilt flashes like fish scales under water. The moment you touch me boundaries dissolve; I am a bird flying from your arm. We merge the way lovers fit one another; nothing between us, not even the thinnest air. Your palm is my furnace, each intake of your breath tightens my arc. In your hands I am a lightning bolt.

 

Le Voyage

 

Passing storms follow battles and strife where you defy oblivion, my tip at your enemy’s throat. You pull me from my scabbard in a fluid move—our dance of thrust, parry, lunge, until the last gush of blood is let. I am your dazzling circle of fire as you whirl around to attack; the air sings as you plunge though a weak link in chainmail. Victory shimmers at my sharpened edge, while you measure life and death. Later, we ride to a tomb where the bones of ancient knights are buried. Their silence vaults over crags and disappears in the pewter waves, and you walk back through fields of wet leaves and bitter clover.

 

Ici des Dragons

 

The battlefield is a flame-streaked ocean; dragons hide in lairs where men hoard their treasures. A halo of dead mouths sing in the aftermath but the ears of the greedy are deaf. We make an orphan of the night, and the one-eyed beast drags close—his amber light turns the spires of our towers to gold, melting the last remnants of snow. We are streaking comets that topple kingdoms, but nothing lasts forever, even Camelot falls. What falsehoods are told in the name of love and war? Even I cannot rival the wound of betrayal that slashes your heart. And when your armor is pierced, I am silent save for the whirr when you slice the air.

 

Le Lac

 

In the chalice you see the moon float in a red stream, but it yields no answers. You know they lie in the quest itself, not the possession of the grail. Here at the end of our journey a hand appears from the darkening waters. A lady in white reaches out and pulls me under. Tiny ripples swallow my length. And you, my liege, are borne across these misty waters to the Isle of Avalon. It is fitting that I too return to whence I came.  Do not heed the code of knights, nor that I was made of stars and steel. I was not fashioned merely to adorn a king’s belt—my sole purpose is power. Those who insist upon my innocence must know that in your hands I taste blood; no matter where I turn, death is my shadow.

 

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BIO

 

Ami Kaye is the publisher at Glass Lyre Press, and editor of Pirene’s Fountain and the Aeolian Harp Series. Her poems, reviews and articles have appeared in various journals and anthologies including Naugatuck River Review, Life and Legends, Kentucky Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Tiferet, and Cartier Street Review among others. Ami edited Sunrise from Blue Thunder, and co-edited First Water: Best of Pirene’s Fountain. She is the author of What Hands Can Hold, and working on a benefit anthology, “Collateral Damage” to raise funds for disadvantaged children.

 

 

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