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Cover for Rave


Poems, 1975-1998

Olga Broumas


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The Choir

I walk and I rest while the eyes of my dead
look through my own, inaudible
hosannas greet
the panorama charged serene
and almost ultraviolet with so much witness.
Holy the sea, the palpitating membrane
divided into dazzling fields and whaledark by the sun.
Holy the dark, pierced by late revelers and dawnbirds,
the garbage truck suspended in shy light,
the oystershell and crushed clam of the driveway,
the dahlia pressed like lotus on its open palm.
Holy the handmade and created side by side,
the sapphire of their marriage,
green flies and shit in condums in the crabshell
rinsed by the buzzing tide.
Holy the light--
the poison ivy livid in its glare,
the gypsy moths festooning the pine barrens,
the mating monarch butterflies between the chic boutiques.
The mermaids handprint on the artificial reef. Holy the we,
cast in the mermaid's image, smooth crotch of mystery and scale,
inscrutable until divulged by god
and sex into its gender, every touch
a secret intercourse with angels as we walk
proffered and taken. Their great wings
batter the air, our retinas bloom silver spots like beacons.
Better than silicone or graphite flesh absorbs
the shock of the divine crash-landing.
I roll my eyes back, skylights brushed by plumage of detail,
the unrehearsed and minuscule, the anecdotal midnight
themes of the carbon sea where we are joined:
zinnia, tomato, garlic wreaths
crowning the compost heap.


Somebody left the world last night, I felt it
so, last minute, last half-breath before the storm
that hit all night last night drew back. Midmorning
windows streaked with mud like sides of ears. How long

the journey? Sails, the windowpanes the black
thick tarp that kept the woodpile. Dry
Southern wind, in minutes clothes bone-hard, clamped
to the line. Clouds heaving in. The sky, the sky, who did arrive

to kiss the eye behind the windswept sheet? Who was it, solo
no longer, shy and desirous to be clean? What song
arose, what crust between the lids
spat and forgot? I woke, my fingers in my eyes

Copper Canyon Press, 9781556591266, 320pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 1999