Thursday, May 16, 2013


Detail of The Canary (1913) by William McGregor Paxton

(By Rita Dove)

---for Michael S. Harper

Billie Holiday’s burned voice
had as many shadows as lights,
a mournful candelabra against a sleek piano,
the gardenia her signature under that ruined face.

(Now you’re cooking, drummer to bass,   
magic spoon, magic needle.
Take all day if you have to
with your mirror and your bracelet of song.)

Fact is, the invention of women under siege   
has been to sharpen love in the service of myth.

If you can’t be free, be a mystery.

It's been a while since I last posted up a poem. I figured that the day would be improved with some lovely verse by Rita Dove.


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