Laurie Byro

 

 

(USA)

 

 

 

Dreamworking

 

My sister knitted me Spain. Your face in a moon-lit

window, the eyes of women  hidden in olive trees.

The hours pass. We sit cross-legged on a blanket,

 

the country spreading around us in each blood-dust

stitch she knits. The shedding red matador ribbons,

the fringe as she turns the corner never dropping us,

 

you throwing back your healthy blood-kissed neck

to laugh. I ask for a terracotta forest, a clay brown

shirt; you hand me a frayed rope, a goat to lead me

 

up a spilling mountain path. My sister knitted me

Picasso bones and teeth, curly-forest sleep, your

brown-fern hair, the frets on your blue guitar

 

as the train’s tracks wed your hands. I want to be

married to slowness, the watchful minutes as we

disentangle logy lies, legs that can’t get up and leave.

 

Shadows that could make Plato’s creatures breathe.

The dark fact of me loved or not. You are miles gone,

coaxing me back into a reflection off train windows.

 

We miss the plaintive lowing of cave animals that hide

in yellow dust.  My sister knits in a language

that will end with my telling.

 

 

 

Me, as Another Country

 

Were my body another country, I wish

I’d be France, cloying dark-chocolate dirtying

the cup, my hair fanned out to a parasol drawing

 

the salty seas of magic, Brittany or Reims

with its smiling angels, pillars of legs and rosy

 

stained glass eyes. My skin would be marbleized

fruit in a courtyard in Champagne and me emptied

entirely of chattering desire, rained-on slick

 

and urgent as an alley fills up with geraniums

in window boxes. How peppery-wild the air

 

as I decay in the yeasty breeze of baguettes rising

off the window-ledges, how sleek and sinewy I am

as I exist only for the purpose of language and holy smells.

 

Barges shuffle along like old men, meandering

these crooked elbows, no point of destination,

 

no solution in the grit of lapping canal-water,

how cleansing to be logy-busy, grenouille

or libellule, how freeing I have become, how pure.

 

 

 

Poet

 

There’s a name that takes on status after you’re dead,

but alive you walk among the trees, muttering

 

to yourself.  How bleak, they missed all that: she believed

that damselflies had a smell, a witch’s cauldron rising over

 

the lake.  She told them angel wings rattle in the forest.

Her poems were a failed writer’s “mistake.”  Bleak, freak,

 

chic, oh well. Oblique, does a poem have a smell?

She could conjure, but never spell.  Even her chums

 

with their cobweb noises. Oy, she heard those voices.

She keeps racking up words but never a pension. She makes

 

politicians cringe. There is an illness for what she has.

Words summon her to the fairy houses. She follows vowels

 

home like a crusty trail. She could never write prose

or something dignified. She had no lineage, her mother was

 

a plumber,  and has no MFA. Sssh, you might have guessed,

her best friend, says he’s: earnest. They praise her fast

 

retort, the word they couldn’t remember never mind utter.

You must know her poems were her children, a sordid clan,

 

brats behaving badly. As a last resort, they praised her ability

to respond with this or that quotation. Left-foot right-foot,

 

through the forest. Aren’t you tired, of this brief and meager

hobby? Why couldn’t she be a lawyer and make the trains run.

 

Gnarly bending limbs, a rough line here or there, a strophe bends

low to the ground. Only the sky should covet sound. She praised

 

real poets, the cardinal’s chatter, she’d hurl words hard

and soft: chartreuse, aquamarine, pearl. A smoldering cinder

 

became a red thrush about to burst into flame.  Listen,

hummingbird rests on his halo, his laurelled boa of light.

 

 

« Dreamworking » is from Luna and « Poet » is from La Dogaressa (nominated for a 2017 pushcart prize).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BIO

 

Laurie Byro has five collections of poetry published, most recently  La Dogaressa and Other Poems (Cowboy Buddha Press) Four books of poetry were published prior to this, among them Gertrude Stein’s Salon and Other Legends (Blue Horse Press) and The Bloomsberies and Other Curiosities: both contain work that received a New Jersey Poetry Prize. Her poetry has received 54 Interboard Competition honors including 10 First Place awards as judged by such notables as Suzanne Lummis, Toi Derricotte and Mark Doty among others. Laurie lives in New Jersey with her husband where she has been  facilitating Circle of Voices poetry discussion in New Jersey libraries the last 18 years.

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