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Lea Marshall
Poems

About the Poet

Lea Marshall's work is forthcoming in Linebreak and two anthologies, and has appeared in Menacing Hedge, Hayden’s Ferry Review, P.Q. Leer, Miracle Monocle, Moon Milk Review,diode, Anderbo, and elsewhere.

She earned an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is also Interim Chair of the Department of Dance & Choreography. 

 


Spring 2013 Poems »
Aello the Harpy

At dusk she laughs, a sound like bridge
cables snapping, flings herself into screaming
air, unties its molecules, vanishes. The taxi
drivers refuse to discuss her. But on breaks
they order more food than they can eat,
knowing she may call. Their clothes hang
off them. They give circuitous directions.

Hair electric ringlets, her oil dark wings
slide together with a metal sound.
Taloned, her face riven by hunger,
she grips her cornice over the intersection –
a jumble of continuous minor accidents.
I remember starving. My bones sang
in a cold wind. I felt weak and furious, but light.

Eventually I would join her up there, learn
her story through chuckles, fierce whispers,
the hawk’s iris glinting behind a woman’s
lashes. Why she is still here, I can’t wonder
as my spine hollows and I rock gently
in the wind along the entablature,
waiting for the flight that finally comes,
she says, after the death of pity.

 

~

Sugar Hollow, Crozet, VA
 
Snaking road
darkwhispering
road. Some nights
her vision
  tunneled.
Beyond headlights
sprang shadow-deer –
her neck crisped.
     
The sycamore
half-dressed gleams,
tires thrumming
over concrete bridge,
graveled sweep towards
the house.
    Once,
a snake fight thrashed
the woody grass. Once,
a fiddle echoed down
the opposite ridge.
     
Oaks and cedars
  shushing
she shut off the car,
heard the fact of deer
  crashing uphill
beyond the thorned lemon
tree. At their warning
  shiushew shuishew
her temples loosened,
she heard pebbles shift
beneath the creek,

an otter slide into shallows.

 

~

Archive:ii
   
Blank pages, charred boxes. Photographs
  of roofs, alleyways, a ridge, the white
of one startled eye. The records cease
   
at the moment of occupation.
  In a stark room
the doctors lay out syringes. One nurse’s
   
hand shakes white gauze through the air.
  It takes five of them to hold his chest
together. He doesn’t hear them but he sees
   
everything – the pulse of blood through
  one doctor’s throat. He sees five iris
blooming slim against the green wall, five
   
of them to hold. He remembers she was
  embarrassed by their lush throats
and he laughs and shakes the hands loose,
   
walks outside trailing gauze
into gold light and the roar of engines.

~

field: medallions

and he set the bowl of almonds on the table while we went on talking – do you remember
that trip to New York, I said, when you skated round the park and I stayed with the beginners, circling, not even changing directions? I couldn't figure out how to stop, so when I got nervous I’d just fall down.

Across the room the sun tipped low and I drifted out of conversation, staring at the carpet's gold field bounded by blue, and the blue medallions marching inside it, some in full bloom others half hidden as they moved out of the frame. A friend told me that this illustrates
the universe stretching to infinity in all directions, bounded only by our perception,
the weaving together our stories of the world.

I never could skate very well, I thought, and ate a few almonds, dusting salt from my fingers. The heron outside caught another fish and shook it, rippling the canal so its velvet floor vanished into sky-water-sky. We kept talking, leaning back in our chairs as the smell of baking bread filled the room and a gull's shadow passed

 

Lea Marshall ~

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