Joseph Cornell's L'Egypte de Mlle Cleo De Merode
On a layer of red sand beneath glass:
broken piece of comb,
Porcelain doll’s arm,
broken at elbow,
for fitting her into his frame.
Plastic rose petals
for throwing at her feet,
preserving her beauty.
Three miniature tin spoons
for measuring out sand grains
in her hourglass.
apothecary jars filled with spirits:
crumpled tulle, blue
celluloid, bone fragments,
for curing all ailments.
Metal chain, rhinestones,
sequins, pearl beads,
He labels the jars:
Grasshoppers and locusts.
An instrument to measure the Nile’s waters.
Sphynx. L’emeraudes de Cléo de Mérode.
In one jar, Cleopatra’s needle is threaded.
In another, his Queen’s entombed,
dancing on yellow sand,
a pinned butterfly.
Lisa Fleck Dondiego
Lisa Fleck Dondiego’s poems have appeared in The Sigh Press Literary Journal, The Westchester Review, The Writers Circle 2, Memoir Mixtapes, The Writers’ Café, Periwinkle, and in the Ecopoetics 2020 special edition of Dispatches from the Poetry Wars, as well as in several anthologies, including Red Moon Press’s yearly anthology and the Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley’s A Slant of Light. Work is forthcoming in Salamander. Her chapbook, A Sea Change, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. She lives in Ossining, NY, with her husband.
The Ekphrastic Review
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