Magazine | October 3, 2011, Issue

Poetry

IN THESE PHOTOGRAPHS, MY RIVAL

. . . grips a tapered wine glass, nearly drained,

Beneath a gold band and engagement gem;

Ham-fisted, left-hand fingers round the stem,

Forefinger lifted, fattened with the strain.

The symptoms of her sloe-eyed pose are pained,

Her lips pulled wide and reddened.  Under them,

The edges of her V-dart collar hem

Conceal, almost, the goblet. Golden-veined

In theme, the lavish suite behind her speaks

Of debts and delegations fit for kings,

Troubadour orchestras, prime execution,

Absolute power and official leaks.

The velvet of its jetty panels sings

Of coups d’état, Rousseau and revolution.

And here, in this, she wears true blue, couture

In polished rayon, modernist in flair

And line; the padded shoulders — broad and square –

Fall through long arms, thigh-level, too obscure

For fair description — lowered in demure,

Meek relaxation. Glossed and dense, her hair

Falls to the bijou throat’s transcendence, bare

Of ornament: off-parted, insecure.

She seems anatomy immune to force:

Before her, ceremony and applause,

Behind and after nothing, barren space.

Be gratified, but warned, Self: In due course,

These hues will clash and die, those classic jaws,

The tongue that teased for hours a lover’s face.

But even death, her ghost, won’t bring you ease.

Some cranny of the house, some corner room,

Will be conscripted as a waking tomb

In which her soul is stored and made to freeze

Or swell by disproportionate degrees:

Initialed stationery — each assume

Precedence to your flawed, impassioned flesh;

A mothball take on mystical allure

Where you will be the spider in a welt

Above her bookshelf, spinning out your mesh

In mortal coiling, cloistered and impure,

Your webbing clogged with pastry cloth and felt.

Jennifer Reeser is the author of six books. Her most recent poetry collection is Indigenous (Able Muse Press, 2018).

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IN THESE PHOTOGRAPHS, MY RIVAL . . . grips a tapered wine glass, nearly drained, Beneath a gold band and engagement gem; Ham-fisted, left-hand fingers round the stem, Forefinger lifted, fattened with the strain. The ...

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