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Spring/Summer 1998, Volume 15.2

Poetry

 

Sherron Norlen


Sherron Norlen (BA, Portland State U) is a retired teacher. Her work has appeared in
Callapooya Collage, Calyx, Hubbub, Kestrel, Willow Springs, and elsewhere. Her first collection is Entomologist's Dreambook (Protean Press, 1998).

 

Souffieur de Verre

for Dale Chihuly

One day to make glass, one to blow. The souffieur twirls 
a blowing-iron sets the glob, fires it orange. He spits air 
into a pale green tumbler, clappers, trims, 
sets it to cool, and I'm thinking 
                                                of Chihuly's furnace eye, 
furnaces big as this workshop, armatures and cranes, 
glass baskets loosening under their own weight. 
A flying gaffer's chair exports Chihuly 

                                                            to rare earth's. 
Lismore Castle. Ghosts clamor in the garden, glazed 
ectoplasm held by duplicate, staggered yews, 
                         arbors limb-linked with a glassine holy spirit 
while the chapel dangles 
                                       glass lights, and pink breasts 
balloon to crowds in the dungeon. The maestro hears a baby 
gurgle at the nipple.
                                 Far away, melon gourds amber as kumquats 
in sun fill the Fish House on a bank of a dull stream 
lit by turquoise belugas chased down by the master's Finnish 
mates who row 
                          a river that flows both ways. The fat belugas 
strike each other and, choosing which way to run with it, chime 
for Chihuly. Artisans lift slick, obsidian seal pups 
to the river's one high rock, throw them in again and again, 
odor of fetid roe rising on the splash.
                                                          Downstream or up, 
they loose ruby-throated water snakes, neodymiurn, and stroke 
vermilion spears staked among cattails, red glass reeds 
upright in an unreadable pane of river. The tube is strong 
shape,
Chihuly intones.
                                   Waterford. Lucent in his spider-spun 
cocoon, threading glass bones, he lifts on Haydn's strings to join 
a conflagration—seraphim caught 
                                                 in blue crossfire shafts 
that stream from a ripped-out wall, full-drawn 
from his empty, crowded, one-eyed mind gone to the capital 
of glass, gone to hang Venetian chandeliers 
                                                           along the Grand Canal.

 

Jacob's Sheep, Montana

Jupiter, my beautiful boy, you 
are the sweet dream of a satanist, cloven 
hooves precarious on the fence rail, celestial 
hopes ablaze in yellow eyes, in the black 
cat-eyed slits of pupil turned level. Four 
colonic horns: two rise straight 
from your brow and two curl 
horny cheek-grazing spits. Look 
in the mirror, trapped god. Savour the lost, 
dark promise in your face, in the mango-
sized glands swaying in their kidskin sack. 
No more lo's, no more virgins sacrificed 
to your lust in the midnight forest. The Mother 
of Truth has locked in your last disguise 
and corralled you here behind white-washed 
boards and pink hollyhocks. You moan and butt 
the post, your little dangler gentled now. Done 
with ravaging you long only for a soft touch, 
benign, tough and from the heart.

 
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