Today's poem is by Kathleen Peirce


We wanted to think the stars were fed by fires
we'd made, so the memory of who we'd been
would be true as any object,
distinct, indelible, and half the time obscured.
Strange, it was from the depths of wetness
this seemed most possible, taken as we were
under the skin of water, looking at surface
from its underside, naming it heaven, or seeing
the fragile sparkling inside our lovers' mouths,
or calling on a prior thought: hadn't Euripides
named night the nursing mother of the stars?
How easily the world is filled with mouths
when one wants to eat. How few there are
at singing time. So, when the pearls
revealed themselves, or were revealed,
we were ashamed at having pried the shells
and said they had been found as thoughts
inside the brains of fish, or in the hearts of birds
always above our world. There were gestures:
the left hand forms a fist before the heart
and the right hand hovers over it, fingers
horizontal as a shore. We took the pearls
to be reversals of the progress
of our deaths, understood that they would fall
with our bodies when the veil dropped,
and we understood this meant return to fire.

Copyright © 2004 Kathleen Peirce All rights reserved
from The Ardors
Ausable Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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