The day I returned to my motherís world,
blue gentians bled magenta
from their dark hearts
like felicitous flares.
He had warned me that her land
would be dry as sandstone,
and in the days that followed,
the crimson crescents in his eyes,
his knowledge of the night
and subterranean tides.
I pressed my lips to his brow.
The boat set out before daylight.
When the hammered shield of sky dispersed
and breathed like plush mother-of-pearl
and fed its azure color to the sea,
I turned to her:
my motherís skin had grown slack
and hung on her arms like cool silk
wrung loose from waiting.
(Copyright © 1999 by Joyce Wilson. This poem first appeared in Orpheus and Company, Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology, edited by Deborah DeNicola.)
The Burning Man
His mind refuses to die down;
it works at the top of its bent,
fueling locomotivesí wheels.
Words curl and disappear
like fragile crimson leaves.
He has set his dreams on the horizon.
His rage is like cinders on the tongue.
Vision of an antichrist?
How he would laugh to be challenged thus!
How often have I tried to catch him
and douse the coals with equal passion!
But as I raise my voice and cry,
his mind increases and would engulf the house;
I want to run, except I know that
running makes the fire worse.
(Copyright © 1995 by Joyce Wilson. This poem first appeared in Harvard Review.)