Today's poem is by Lucia Perillo


War Emblem, the famous stallion,
will not mount a female rump
on the island of Hokkaido
in a pasture near the sea.
It is hard to imagine anyone not being overcome
by the sight of two dozen mares
surrounded by volcanoes (is the problem
that the metaphors are too direct?) and yet
War Emblem is still not in the mood.

A thousand years ago the courtesan Shikibu
wrote a thousand poems to her lover,
the references to sex made tasteful through concision
and the image of their kimonos intertwined.
Either her heart was broken or it was full,
either way required some terse phrases to the moon.

Was that all it was? Dumb animal hunger?
All those years when I thought I was making Art
out of The One Important Thing?
And how to apologize now for my lack of adequate concision?
Once I was so full of juice and certain of its unending.

Copyright © 2010 Lucia Perillo All rights reserved
from Beloit Poetry Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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