Sunday May 26

Larkin Joan Larkin’s most recent book, My Body: New and Selected Poems (Hanging Loose Press) received the Publishing Triangle’s 2008 Audre Lorde Award.  Larkin teaches in the Drew University M.F.A. Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.




A fly was observing The Great Silence,

cakewalking six-legged across the pane.

Slow, slow.  My first thought was to kill,

but couldn’t.  Not in Francis’ room.

I watched her

rub thin wires together as she crossed

and recrossed.  Milk light

shone through her veined wings.

One of her kind, corpse akimbo,

lay on the sill, wings primly folded.

I slid the window open, but she

kept treading glass Braille,

obeying her hidden law:

           Turn in a circle, fly

           to the bottom of the frame, crawl

           between glass and gray felt.

           Then make a sudden exit

on a cold current, out over bare oaks.

River and sky were mute,

and I was a fool and happy.




I woke on my left side, hoping a drenched

sycamore and white sky were all I needed

to hold off morning, that the only mouths were birds,

obbligato over whining engines.  Thick

snakes of rain slid down the cheap façade

and darkened a raw stump, all that was left

of a young, sick tree.  I wanted someone to blame

for scars and hacked-off branches and the lie

of seven flowerings.  Fumes from a trash bag

stung me.  Light was knifing through a cloud

and would be ruthless.  In the tangled yard,

I saw a ragged weed globed with clear drops

only a hair could hold.  Then it was time.

Downtown, they lined us up and walked us in.