In E.J. Bellocq’s faded flash of time
A woman curves across a straight-backed seat.
A mantle, dripping fringe, enfolds her frame.
Her zebra hose are gartered. Still, a neat
White wedge of unobstructed thigh,
Pale as her hollowed underarm is dark,
Remains to captivate your roving eye
And hint the human nature of her work.
An elbow, bent, supports her heavy head,
Connecting her to all her treasured things:
Carved table, nymph or goddess caught in lead,
Silver clock, tiny rockers tipped with wings.
And though the moment here appears to stop,
The clock’s hands fixed, forever pointing up,
See how the rooted objects writhe toward change:
The table legs twist taut as if they could
Bore up to bud in open air. The strange
Statue swirls, Daphne changing flesh for wood,
The little feathered rockers tense for flight
To the grave of Laveau, their Voodoo queen,
Chafing until the depths of red-lit night
When they can swarm, then wing away unseen.
And the woman, at rest from evening wiles,
Turns toward her own deliverance, and smiles.
Kate Ravin, a freelance writer, lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She has served as poetry editor at XS magazine, a subsidiary of South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper, and been published in The Lyric magazine and The Road Not Taken: The Journal of Formal Poetry.
11/25/2021 04:09:37 pm
What an evocative and sensual poem. Brilliant use of references- particularly striking was the Daphne transformation image. I adore the phrase "evening wiles". Just stunning!
11/27/2021 02:35:09 pm
This is really very nice!
2/17/2022 02:59:36 pm
Dear David, I'm sorry not to have seen your generous response until now. Yo'u've absoutely made my day. Thank you so much. I've found some of your work on the Society of Classical Poets site and enjoyed it as well. Nice to find another formalist in this free verse world.
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