Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Three Poems: Diana Lundell

A Plea to the Outstretched Angel

You are a bronzed prayer,
one wing, one bereaving arm.
The pose, overreaching,
uncomfortable even to the eye.
Something of you anguishes,
perhaps knows my pain.

If you’re still a working angel
and not demoted by God
(minus the wing and all),
can you soften the thorn on the rose
bringing no blood from touch?

Alright, that’s probably impossible.

But what of the odor of lilac
spinning spring breeze
the way it fills to bursting?
Can you teach my heart
how to feel this again
past my thundering sorrow?

Or perhaps, just one more hour
hold the blessed twilight
to get lost in the loveliness
of ragged shadows, dying light.

And that’s when you could send
a message beyond the grave
slipped through the thin veil
when other angels aren’t looking.

A postcard would be okay
telling me if they’re all fine and
what the weather’s like over there.

* * * * *

So Far This April

How I yearn to see the leaves
come out in spades again,
fleshy and plump with chlorophyll.

In my backyard, the soldiers are such:
1 lovely, sinewy birch budding
little clay-colored fists;
2 ruddy red maples, burgeoning;
3 dying oaks, stunted, rooted in netherland,
every so often creaking slightly
in wind to whisper, Am I still here?
4 delinquent scrubs, sloven but progressing;
and 6 buxom sugar-plum-fairy pines
holding out their flowing dresses
to block the neighbor’s view.

These gluttons wait to show off,
to dangle, seduce, tantalize,
play hide and seek with shadows,
wear their hearts on fingertips
and fill up with light.

It’s been such a long, godless winter,
all about desolation and war.
Dead everywhere, flying nimble wings.
The air thick with murder,
cold curdling blood.

But this spring you won’t be alive
to watch our little green rebellion
strike victory, despite it all.

* * * * *

Awaking Indigo

As pale indigo light
orphans shadows in my room
claimed by neither
night nor day, I wake.

Across town in the hospital
your love of fear sedated
as you labor under the oxygen mask
face calm, affirming surrender
attached to life’s umbilical cord.

For whole moments, I think of escape,
of finding things to do to avoid
the centurion hours clearly laid out
to be my day’s destiny
guarding your bedside.

All the cleaning to be done.
Or the untouched bills spilt
across table in silent complaint
could give purpose to knocking out an hour.

Someone will call if the end is here, I think,
but the end lives here now.

Instead, I go into the shower,
letting hard drops trample my skin
liquid shock-waves. It feels like life.
My body hairs rise in salute.
But it’s too much.

Tears from me but
of sound outside myself
unleash deep and raw,
a coyote vicious
ripping flesh from bone.
All at once, I am the coyote,
also the prey. I weep
until no more tears come.

At the hospital, they wait for me.
In due time, the nurse wheels in a lamp
for soft mood lighting
and a radio playing Gospel music.

We are the ghosts around your bed,
taking turns at goodbye.
You cannot respond, largely unconscious,
floating morphine’s lovely dream.

They remove the mask,
we stare you down with wait.
I suffer the naked shame
of a first-time voyeur
as if invading your privacy
is stripping away your life.

Long pulls in and out,
we humans do without thinking,
each breath, a gain, a loss.

The last came not as I envisioned
in one long, drawn-out sigh
but mere respiration held
as if you had all the time in the world,
a pebble across a pond
skipping and flying long
the wind before immersion.

Then the short final exhale,
a slight wave of air
passing over your tongue.
Without close attention,
I would have missed it.

* * * * *

~ Diana Lundell lives in Minnesota. This is her first appearance in Elegant Thorn Review. Each of these poems appeared, in a previous form, in Northography.

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