Friday, July 28, 2017

Poems I Admire #38


Ceiling Fresco, Andrea Mantegna, 1474


















Camera degli Sposi (The Bridal Chamber)

Afterwards, we lie on the bed,
limbs flung wide, my kirtle, his doppieto
on the floor, tangled with the wedding
silks, our sweaty bodies far apart,

breathing hard, but not in unison.
The ceiling above me is a painted balustrade
around a painted hole, a painted sky
strewn with painted clouds.

It’s like being at the bottom of a well.
Outside, it could be raining—
lightning, thunder, stars darkening,
but in this room the sky is always blue.

What a crowd up there around the edge—
all those merry cherubs, a dark man in a turban,
several women staring, even a bird.
I feel like I should cover up.

The cherubs have fat, creased thighs,
stubby little penises. The man cocks
his head. The bird gazes at the clouds,
as if overtaken by yearning.

Below, on rumpled sheets
of fine-woven linen, I touch his shoulder.
That bird, I ask, is it a pheasant?
He looks, rolls away from me.

Idiota, he says, it’s a peacock.
I want to stroke the soft hair
curling at the back of his neck
but I don’t dare. Instead I look up.

On the balustrade
between two women, is a heavy tub
filled with greenery, balanced
on the very edge.

From her collection entitled Fugitive Pigments (Future Cycle Press)

A Southern Californian through and through, Ruth Bavetta writes at a messy desk overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Review, North American Review and many other journals. She is the author of Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press, 2013) Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press, 2014) and Flour Water Salt (FutureCycle Press 2016.) She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean, she hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut. http://www.ruthbavetta.com

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