Friday, October 05, 2007

502 Devotions, Six O'Clock - Lynne Knight

(After Paul Klee's La Belle Jardinière)

The beautiful gardener stood in the rain
and sang down to the roots
of all she'd lost and seen returned.
Her blue skirt darkened
like the patch of sky gone black
an hour back in warning.
Her shirt clung to her breasts,
thin hair to her skull.
Everything was hers: both joy and threat.
She thought of lovers, all
of them lost or gone, how the taste
of the body was like rain: nothing
you could name, just that mix
of sweet and steel in the hollow
of the tongue. She sang down
to the vein until the lovers
rose before her, ghostly
in the wet and steel-bright light.
It was not madness.
she studied their faded eyes,
black shoes, the hands she would know
anywhere. What could she want from them,
they seemed to ask (each mouth
open like a bird's at dawn).
What had they still not given.
This devotion, she whispered.
And took their hands and danced
while rain came down and time bled
into everything withheld.

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