The Boiler

Jane Huffman

CONJURING

Leave your soft metallic subordinance behind,
leave your cashmere leg wraps, your ponds
of copulating flutterfish, your unmowed lavender,

leave your thrown disemboweled, your plate of beak meat
and wishbone unsnapped, leave your funeral gardens
unwatered, your husband, nonstinging jelly, wonting.

Leave your damselfly boudoir of molten gold drapery
and dozzled pearls, leave your flask of malt vinegar,
leave your council to the dogs, your dogs to the strangers.

Leave your haliographer to his salt, your turkey feather
vireton to the soldiers, your red mun waxes to the girls,
your dinmont to the butcher, your emerald cross garnet

to be melted down for stock. Pack lightly this time.
Bring only your languages and one or two good coats.
Leave your sun wolves, your copper upspear headdress.

Forget the unripe lotus. Forget the bathhouse, its labbing,
baptizer of small orifice. Forget the aurelia, its waiting.
Wait no more. Leave at dawn. Leave the rest to me.

VILLANELLE FOR SIMPLE MACHINES

I can pose the mosaic layer’s clay,
finger his glass tessellates, his jewel dye,
ask: what shade of blue will God wear today?

I can hold the florist’s blade to his bouquet,
keep the beekeeper’s wasp from his sandfly.
I can pose the mosaic layer’s clay.

Women like me never learn how to pray.
Rather, like simple machines, we pry:
ask: what shade of blue will God wear today?

And if I found a child in the hay,
I would lie.
I can pose the mosaic layer’s clay.

My own child, born in the chance of May,
she too my own doing, looks to the sky,
asks: what shade of blue will God wear today?

Mother, I know exactly what you’d say,
that mothers must mother things that must die.
I can pose the mosaic layer’s clay,
ask: what shade of blue will God wear today?

________________________

Jane Huffman is a Michigan-based poet and playwright with recent work featured or forthcoming in Arroyo Review, Moon City Review, Cold Mountain Review, Word Riot, RHINO Poetry and other journals. She is currently studying poetry and theatre arts at Kalamazoo College.