Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Joan Colby- Three Poems


The children drowned
In the bathtub. She lay
On the bed with the capsules.
Unable to complete the circle.

Or the car shoved
Into the lake, the hands of the
Small boys waving
From the rear window. Now she
Was free.

After she served the meal
And he had eaten
And she described the recipe—
So went the story though
Euripedes says she simply
Slaughtered them so he could see
The blood oozing beneath the doorsill—

She wrote his name
in their blood.
The man whose disdain
or abandonment was the fault
in the earth beneath the red
clay of her fury.


Indian Summer. Stuffed men.
Some with gourd heads. Others with faces
Painted on burlap. Overalls and bandanas.
Witches and ghouls scare no one.

Girls in shorts, mothers with strollers,
A couple with coupled corgis. The last
Of the fine weather. Shrines to harvest
Or fear. Underfoot, the maple leaves

Utter exclamations. A woman at the end
Of her leash hauled by a fat bulldog.
Booths hawk insurance, fancy soaps,
Newspaper subscriptions, homemade dog biscuits.

The stuffed men circle the square.
Music blasts its circus. Beer. Free hot dogs.
Fried cookie dough. The day grows hot
And untidy. A fountain flashes sunspots.

A child smeared with chocolate whines..
Heavy armed women collapse panting.
Jewelry sellers throng riverbanks
Where mallards flock for popcorn.

The best scarecrow wears denim
And red checks. A red silk heart
Pasted on his breast proposes
An animation of love.

Not one crow in evidence
To show its black scorn.


They chose darkness,
Sequestered, starless
For the first attempts.

Outline the great beasts:
Mammoth, cave bear, bison,
Three racing horses.

The deep crevices where bulge
Could make dimension rear
To the glow cast by stone lamps
Filled with burning lard.

Moonless nights
Safe from predators. The howls and cries
Of the unforgiving world.

Caverns carved by hidden rivers
Could be crawled bearing the tools.
Ocher, charcoal. The pure idea hauled
To its difficult origins.

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