Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Geisha Madrigal

. . . as though to protect
What it advertises.
—John Ashbery, “Self–Portrait in a Convex Mirror”

Body is a temple, but who can read inside it?
Beneath sheets, a girl, flashlight pressed to palm:
that flanged red ghost deafened cicadas, traffic qualm,
with nervous, ungrateful hue. Is captured light

the subject, then? Or dark. Let in too much
& it’s the anti-lyric—oblivion galore.
Too little? Don’t bother to be born.
Light, meet Dark, in this intricate brocade

of sky freighting the stream, summer’s obi,
consciousness unraveling the heart’s claim.
Wade there, waterbird precarious, a drinking game.
Lift slowly the kimono drape of consonants.

Reveal your vowels. Not all of them. Arouse
the polluted miraculous water that we house.