Study for Salome Dancing Before Herod
by Eric Pankey
In the movement toward disappearance,
She is pulled by an undertow of ecstasy.
She wakes in a room where she never fell asleep.
A thousand starlings leaf-out a bare tree.
She wakes in a dusky, tenebrous zone.
Evening on the ridges and in the mountains,
But light still spills on the valley floor.
What transport brought her here?
The shape of gravity embodies a pear on the table.
Here time is the only sovereign.
She is like an arrow slipped from its quiver.Requiem
by Angie Estes
Each October the house beyond
the woods appears, then goes away
in May. The maple opens
to let the blue jay in, then
closes, while all
the trees keep pointing
in the same direction.Every house is
, claimed Frank Lloyd Wright,
but what is it they want
us to believe? Beside the house,
a road, and onto the road raccoon,
possum, ground hog, deer occasionally
stray: how the hind leg rises
at death, saluting
the sky, just as at the end
of Stravinsky's Rite of
, a girl steps onto
the stage and dances herself
to death. The ground keeps opening
but will not speak. To attract
birds, you must make sounds
like a bird dying. Begin
move on to the high-pitched
noises small birds make
when seized by a predator: loudly
kiss the back of your hand
or thumb. The origin of music was
grief: a dirge sung annually
in memory of Linos, ai Linon, alas for
Linos from the Phoenician ai lanu, alas
, a harvest
song, lament for the death
of the year. In October, as in Wagner,
you can have the gold
but only by renouncing
love, the past can sometimes be
forgotten, and heaven go up
in flames. Wagner always loved to be
where he died, in Venice,
because he could hear music
only in the city's silence.from Epitaphs
by Abraham Sutzkever
Translated By Jacqueline Osherow Read the translator's notes
Written on a slat of a railway car:
If some time someone should find pearls
threaded on a blood-red string of silk
which, near the throat, runs all the thinner
like life’s own path until it’s gone
somewhere in a fog and can’t be seen—
If someone should find these pearls
let him know how—cool, aloof—they lit up
the eighteen-year-old, impatient heart
of the Paris dancing girl, Marie.
Now, dragged through unknown Poland—
I’m throwing my pearls through the grate.
If they’re found by a young man—
let these pearls adorn his girlfriend.
If they’re found by a girl—
let her wear them; they belong to her.
And if they’re found by an old man—
let him, for these pearls, recite a prayer.