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Guest Poet Bonnie Lee Widerman


Born out of shadows into false light,
you led too quickly into a dance too slow.
Your thick words burned my ears like righteousness,
while clinging to my lips as dull kisses.

Someone should have stopped me
before I drank in strong speech
and went stumbling through your midnight orchard,
falling beneath fruitless trees.

In delirious slumber you sought out
formless aspirations,
molded them with hardened hands
into manacles of pious deceit.

Once, I saw my shadowy reflection
in scuttled stones, and burst into flame.
But your mired dust, strangely salve-like,
extinguished my fire.

Intricate desolation—
extricate me from the barrenness
of your twisted branches,
as nectarless fruit falls even my grief is purged.

At long last we travel slowly into hideous night
where you disappear,
but in your aftermath dawn breaks in a jagged sweat
and I find my mirror has no face.

August, 2001

Bonnie Lee Widerman's Questions:

Please comment on anything you think might help improve this poem, but I am especially interested to know:

Does the imagery in the first stanza work with the rest of the poem?

Are the lines in the first stanza too long compared with the rest of the poem (Is the rhythm incompatible)?

Any suggestions for changing the first stanza?

Does the poem's imagery work overall?

Does the poem make sense? What does it mean to you?

Thank you so much for your help!

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