blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1


audio version


The Lady Vanishes

First, there’s The Spirit Carpenter
      Drives the Nail of Conviction
with The Hammer of Truth,

followed by The Animated Guitar
      fingerless music echoing
like a stare in a hall of mirrors,

and Children of the Scissors,
      a daisy-chain of faceless dolls
in trapezoidal dresses

suspended in mid-air
      like convicts on trapezes.
Then I enter the box

feet first—winter onion
      putting down shoots.
Many things do not exist for me:

tree trunks in their mulchy ascendance,
      photographs like paper mirrors
that have no choice

but to remember a smile,
      the inevitable approach of Love,
which can’t be diverted

like a train from its station,
      and impenetrable Beauty.
Even the face of a handsome woman

isn’t immune to a frown.
      In the lobby, the trick mirror
returns everyone’s reflection

as a bouquet of flowers.
      Unlike the fantastic orange tree
that bears fruit instantly—

my sweetness won’t ripen.
      Sawed in two, cloistered
by curtains, or some other way

secreted from view, I’m revealed.
      To everyone’s amazement,
I emerge intact to applause.

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