Lois Marie Harrod

The Translator

Your art is my art
and my art
becomes your house,
sometimes
a flimsy dwelling—

your papillon becomes
the moth singing to my flame,
your monarch
seeks my milkweed
resurrection,
your language
tries my tongue
and forks.

So many lingoes,
and what am I
but your jargon—
egg,
larva, puppa
cocoon,
a blue morpho
inflating
its wings?

The Spectator, the Actor

Like that tricky-dick physicist Niels Bohr
who nailed a horseshoe over his door
for good luck, I divide myself into two persons:

first the one and then the other—
watching. Do you understand?
The quantum switch.

Adam blames himself for Eve
and then divvies the guilt,
becomes Eve blaming herself

for Adam’s fall. The pair of dice
in paradise, tossing snake eyes,
as we are spinning ourselves

fearless, fearful. Slow your breathing,
I say, put on your apron,
why are you running naked

to those fig leaves ?
You’re God parting the ferns,
You’re the garment of the world—

spectator becoming actor
again and again, and now here’s Death
that clunky angel

with his rusty sword
separating himself from yourself.
Doubling Tristan and Iseult,

Romeo and Juliet,
victim and victimizer, body
on the morgue table, or is it a body cast?

During the autopsy, I feel myself breathe,
just a little breath,
because I can’t hold it any longer,

and the shot is marred
like the 3-D mammogram when I moved.
All the farces I’ve ruined,

so many doors opening and slamming,
I’m watching the play, I’m in it.
I have lines I can’t remember,

like the movie star President
with Alzheimer’s. At a 1984 photo session
a reporter questioned arms control.

Reagan answered: Well, we uh, well . . .
I guess, uh, well, we uh . . .
until his wife Nancy prompted him,

We’re doing the best we can.
and, yes, Reagan called out loudly,
We’re doing the best we can!

***

Lois Marie Harrod’s 17th and most recent collection Woman will be published by Blue Lyra in December 2019. She is many times published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. Visit her online work at http://www.loismarieharrod.org

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