Margeaux Walter   © 2012 All Rights Reserved

Sappho: Decoded
(France, 1940)


It was the brush of your tender lips on wrist! [My ruby heart
whirred], these [exultations of joy], yours!

I saw you, and I am [a scythe, a sickle, a moon]. I cannot stop
clinging to the curve of your fingertips.

Love, meet me at midnight. I will be there in the [dusky corners and
wine-scented] rooms. Listen for my [honeyed whispers].

I am [a flowered dress of waiting]. Please stay until [time unfastens
and drops its petals to the floor].

We are a [red wrapped embrace]. Only your [vertical strokes] will turn
these [rounded vowels] into sentences. [Ink pauses], waiting to become
day.

It is [starless vacant] night. I lie awake writing these [unanswered
prayers for union] and tears spring [wells that never run dry].

Today a [telegram tapped] at the door. A part of [my body and soul]
has been killed. Stop.

I cannot forget: protocol and its [barbed wire], the black Maginot
line, [his gray shrapnel eyes] [the press of warm thigh].

[O Interrogations of God]! Planets ache, wrenched out of orbit. Souls
[like swallows] dive, collide and only dust remains.

Your [fallen blackbirds] burn my heart…carefully I fold and unfold
myself into an origami prayer.

 

Christine Clarke
Copyright © 2012  

Christine Clarke lives in Seattle, Washington, where she works as a molecular biologist. Her poems have received awards from the Seattle Public Library and Redmond Arts Council. She is currently working on her first chapbook, Seventeen Different Kinds of Disaster.


Table of Contents            Next Poem            Guidelines