poem index

Countess Lethargy

Terese Svoboda
Dogs slink around her bed in hunger.
Lest you make sacred her image
on a brick, on your drive or thumb, 
she needs to be turned twice a day
plant-ish, in her deshabille. 

Lethargy has its roots in lethal.
This is the truth you must share
or die, the waves over your head,
the waving you're not doing.
Pride vacuums away the scraps

yet nobody empties the bag.
Maybe she hurts. Maybe.
The dogs devour her at dusk.
You have it in a book, read once, 
now on the computer shelf. 

Clever is what those dogs become, 
punished by crowds anxious to see
the Countess' soul fly from their mouths.
She wears gold and shines: sunlight.
You are one of those dogs.

Copyright © 2010 by Terese Svoboda. Used with permission of the author.

Terese Svoboda

by this poet

poem
A red-faced lion raises its maw.
I could be in the supermarket, saran wrap thrown back

but there's Hope Wanted Alive scrawled along
all the mud-slick side streets

where kids roll bottle tops, kids hawk one seed—
in Nairobi the slum blues where I stop, gallery-wise.

Forty children in clean costumes of
poem
Who loots the dew or enjoins
a shadow to guard a tree?

The bird in the pie can't pretend
to arms, its claws rock

the coin in the crust.
The train's single eye

examines the tree that the pie
holds the fruit of,

its engine rasps past the bird
as if smoke lent its shadow.

And the dew? Surely
it's a dark gulp
poem
A De Chirico head aslant on a coverlet,
body mostly flown, the dazed prayers dumb.

The ritual cigarette, the ritual drink:
incense, holy water. No ambivalence, 

the woman inside fled, the whispers
I make of tenderness—hers—she sleeps through.

She's in that corridor, tunnel, the light is left on—
shut if