Muriel Nelson
Boardinghouse Reach

after Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar

To know, I thought. Not thought, ate. For sakes
alive, the eat hole's even in the children's book.
And the peep holes? Look: a board teems with indelicacies
and, like a cook for a crowd, stretches them,
groaning. From time to time, pairs of delicious
eyes heat and radiate. Stay. Stay
here. When everything's warm, someone is bound
to sing like a piccolo's C or a contrabass's.
Or the whole deafening gamut. Beautiful?
Well. It is. But that live-long table makes
a point of its end and sharpens it
to vanishing. An arm aims
for your favorites.
It takes.

Inversions


Triad

Inside out in its violet phase --
three petals violent with purple --
the trillium dies.

*

Last Words

A nasty layer --
nothing we say can blow it away.
At a fixed distance I see his mouth there
like a woodpecker's favorite hole: snagged air.

*

Stroke

It's revenge -- a blocked poet -- god's game.
A sentence goes rolling to a sudden rhyme
with what he means.
He hears it, shakes his head, and makes a fist.
He wanted to say my name.

That's Life


My cat's next spring
coils in its eyes.

Mary, some say,
conceived in her heart

while God the poet, hard on
life, eternally begets.

My dead friend's husband
raised his glass, filled with his love,

and wept to put out fires: She's everywhere.
See -- the bride is radiant.

God didn't need this wife.
He stole her.