Poetry Porch: Poetry


Two Worlds: A Bridge
by Gail Mazur

Puffed-up windbags, black feathered bellows,
wheezy hinges: fierce yellow-eyed unlovable
inexpressibly expressive grackles.

Oil-tainted air.
                        Premonitory luxury
of leaving a life. Floating alone
at night in my air-conditioned space
capsule, unknown
for a thousand miles.

Addison Street. Dryden. Wordsworth.
Shakespeare. Auden. Swamp
mysteriously re-constituted—
a British literary map.

Banana trees. Cottonwood.
Mesquite. Blue Gum.
Tallow. Chinaberry.

Mornings at a formica table,
reading obituaries for pleasure
of the Chronicle’s names: Pamula.
Euphie. Bubba Levine.
Billy Jo Tardy.

Was that me in the Buffalo Café,
laughing at death?

And walking after the day’s heat,
a thousand furious grackles flaring up,
clacking, frantic at my approach,
                black iridescent blooms
in the branching candelabra
of Rice Boulevard’s great live oaks.

Half a country’s distance
between the body and its biography.

At first, the body’s baby-ish tissue,
its nervous Boston muscles,
begged to be taken home.

But that was only the body.

Copyright © by Gail Mazur. This poem originally appeared in The Common, University of Chicago Press, 1995. Reprinted with permission.