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Sample Poems by Roberta Senechal de la Roche

Into the Woods

We did not come here to eat stone
instead of lightning,
or to ignore the sedge that fills
what was once a way.
What enters with us now
stays in this tree, outlasts the air, the mood,
all the voluptuous weeds,
its shade a solace, as though
you could abide the inevitable
and what is not finished,
still green, this color
at the center of our visible spectrum.

Deep Indigo

And you want to believe it
because you are alone.
I also want, but cannot do the
messianic tangos I see on screens.

The heat is rising, as we know
in waves off summer pavement, as
satyrs on their telephones try to ring
a cocktail waitress on a half shell.

Late that night you dreamed the sky
became a wet membrane you pushed
against and howled, if only
you had a pen of bone,

You might grasp the sound of rain,
take pieces of the storm.
I said, you wrote this song,
now you must dance to it.


Considering we've seen
clouds of starlings flux
and race the wind to cover
under a jealous sky,
we prefer that someone else
go read the meaning of the night.

Let someone else go hear
how thrushes start to sound
far away at dawn or say,
this is not home, not this.

Let him stand at his door
hands in his pockets
watching a thin girl with naked legs
skip through the grass
and not look back.
We forget the names of those who rise.
When no one's looking
we tug at the stars and try
to drag them to the streets.

Sooner or later
our hearts unfasten bit by bit
to make us lighter than before,
though like stubborn kites
we pull until the last.

We prefer to hold to air
above the wards
and corridors of afternoon
until what tethers us up there
does not draw us in,
but lets us go.

Small Ghost

Can you not be still, after all
while someone chants my father
while someone tightens
time on a gut string

What sort of crown could bless
the last with the first, well
before something alpha small
could ever yearn for ligament,
or bone or breath?

Can we who yield ever confess
the razor's edge, annul
the numinous red cramp
unconscious curettage, folding out,
unraveling the warp and weft of things?

And do you have a cloak of clouds, a bird's mouth
occulted, tiny beak mouthing out amnesia
hovering on piccolo wings,
empyrean enough to never know
just what falling really is?

Blind Flowers

I thought it all was indivisible,
but now the goldfinch goes
a capella in the rain

While the next door neighbor yard dog
pulls so hard his chain cuts
right in; both

Bound to go over
like those who go down then up again,
who tell stories no one wants to hear.

We who thought we really knew
the names of flowers
bent toward light, unseeing though,

Are bound to lie for what we missed.
So let us speak as though we don't exist,
without phylogeny or shape, saying only

Wind will strip
the calyx of its crown, taking all
its purple senseless to the ground.