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Leonore Wilson



To spill as these
over the once incendiary hills,
rich brimstone
of beauty,
purple as a cup
of blueblood—
this is what the body wants,
all haunch
like a cord of bucks
there are no boundaries
in the dumb
animal heart,
there is only this
blossom after blossom.
How to believe in the quick
lithe earth
when the body is a mandate
of terrible wills,
how to wind and braid
over stone and leaf,
crash as veils do
ledge upon ledge
like a fission of
of libations—
O purple world
of pulse and panicles,
the geese migrate
one by one,
the great blue heron
tempers the stream
with his shadow—
all ascension
and release.
What cumbersome bones
under our skins
we have,
what cells drone
in the wild escarpment
of our brains.



The Roses

Against the window will not bloom—
they see us face to face,
bellies, hips, thighs
leg over leg like bent blossoms;
they see us in the early morning
devoted to union, as if the rain and
mist of our song could hover
in mid-air like the eight-string
burgeoning of the thrush’s
voice, or the fecund blending
of the summer grasses
as they bend and roll
in the threshing tail
of a strong north wind;
the roses would climb halfway
up the trellis and hang
as if suspended there, voyeurs
arched high, bewildered, peering
like children seeing sex
for the first time, shaken awake,
hearing heaven itself twisting
and moaning, a cry in the far shed
of dawn, when sperm and egg
met, when their parents’ blood flowed
backwards as it did once
into their own soft eyes.



First Lover

I left my wilderness for college,
came out of the house of my youth
toward knowledge, my body
fire and wind and water and
darkness, meaning it
desired, meaning it wanted to be
touched which to me
meant love or holiness or
waves smashing against cliffs,
meaning I thirsted:
I wanted to acquire
immutable beauty. I was a creature
of dust and earth and grass stricken dumb
like a ewe lamb. I told
myself, have courage!
I told God I was wholly determined
to be broken,
I knew those who descended into
sin and glowed in perfect light,
so when my first lover
understood my weakness,
he did what I knew he would:
he carried me off with his incessant
singing, anointed me,
then stuck a goad
right through my heart.



Leonore Wilson lives on the family ranch in Northern California. She teaches at a local college. Her work has been in such magazines as Quarterly West, Third Coast, Madison Review, Poets Against the War, Laurel Review, and 13th Moon.
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