Joan Colby



I didn’t say it was your fault.
I said I was blaming you.
If that’s  aggressive then so is
The way the honeysuckle blossoms
Strangle the Persian lilacs.
It’s simply nature: blame
Our word for all the wreckage
In the flood that left our house
Vacant and oppressed by mold
Black as a whiskey temper.

I am invoking blame
As praiseworthy. An offering
To the gods of retribution.
To the starlings who soil the birdbath,
To the oaks shrapneling acorns
Over which I stumble like the words
I intend to say regardless.

Listen, I am blaming
You for whatever is stirring
The underbrush with threat,
For the way the evening blues,
Then darkens, starless. I am saying
Nothing can be sacred, not even this.


Glint glyph



The sun pastes its coruscating bursts
on metal grounding us to earth.
Slow transubstantiations of amber.
Black snakes of coal, bituminous
with hellshine. A toxic atmosphere,
Arsenic wells.
Let’s drive out of here on wheels
of glitter. Into bird dust or the alimony
of bitten peaches. Give us time.
We can save each other.
Find the childhood
swings hung from chains
rusting beneath a motherlode of elms.


Glint glyph



You will not be sad in this world
Though all the music haunts
Hills garbed in fog. Though lilies
Fade in their turquoise vases.
The slow water passing languorously
Beneath the ancient wharf.

A woman on a bench clasps her hands.
The book unopened. The lost poem
Written by a slave whose tongue was severed
For telling how it felt: this loneliness.

Acknowledge the red knob of the closed door.
The broken window where a child peers
Into a littered alley. The rags of dream
You gather to knot about your throat.


Renouncing sadness: that old bicycle
Whose wheels no longer revolve,
The brakes that seize pitching you
Into a pool of milk.

Adorn yourself with the black silks
Of all the midnights spent weeping.
It was not loss so much as
Safekeeping. The locket congealed
With starshine. The opal rings
Of your governing planet,
Saturnine, ironic
As you trouble yourself denying
The sadness that hoods
The visible world.