Portrait of Lucy with Fine
My torso is a cedar chest in the
Of the middle of a country, hollow
three young sisters
Curl there like marsupials and shut
The bevelled door and die there,
determined yet, into
The camphored pouch of an Otherworld.
Around this death there was a fine Nile jar
Of halo-light, where I am
of you now,
Out of time like a nightjar In the diorama of the great hall
Of prehistory, depicting the tiny cataclysmic
of some mythic, leggy
Accident that changed the world
One day, numinous as a Petrarchan
Sunflower in the night. A moment
as a bee suspended
In the perfect weather of a honey jar.
Your heart was cinctured, full, surrounded
By a hinder of restharrow
nestled in its little parasol
Of amber grief, willful as a wooden tiger standing
an empty yellow room.
While you were leaving, I was lying, eastward,
On my back, like a pharaoh counting
The layers of muslin wound
Around my cumbrous (nearly human)
Hand, counting the days until
Lucie Brock-Broido is the author of A
Master Letters, and Trouble
in Mind. She is the director of poetry in the School of
the Arts at Columbia University.
Originally published in the February/March 2004 issue of Boston Review.