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Today's poem is by Judith Skillman

Lilacs

Because they signify a life
less sterile, I twist their stems
like the woman in Eliot's Portrait.

Only the ones which fall and catch on long grass
can be brought into the house,
which is small and cheap and faces the sea.

A strong dose of fatigue where once was longing.
I twist lilac stems and wait for the grosbeak
to come to the fork of the tree.

Dried flowers dangle near the ornament,
an umbrella for hanging pots on.
Invented by the French, I'm sure.

I twist their stems. They brown now,
May turning into June,
the beach sterile. When I walk there

I pick up pebbles and drop them back down
to hear the sound of stone on sand.
A mussel glows blue but the lilac's

tawdry blooming merely means
one kind of fatigue has passed away
to be replaced by another.

In my mouth the taste of rice vinegar.
I lean towards the crooked trunk whittled clean
and catch the scent of another aesthetic.

Compliments behoove the lady in me
to find a small start of green
somewhere in the garden.

Anything alive can be felt between the fingers.
The crows line their nests
with these kinds of straws.



Copyright © 2002 Judith Skillman All rights reserved
from Red Town
Silverfish Review Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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