Rebecca Ariel Porte

Senhal’s complaint

Soul, don’t complain, says Senhal,
who means by “soul” a thing like “future,”
possesses without knowing it
not soul, but future,
is little present, Senhal, & less past
when this she shares,
not always willing all,
the pale pearl earth with you
& shelters in her heart
a stunted lemon tree, inviolate,
& shielded by a sour ring of fire,
the kind that keeps a Valkyrie asleep.
Always born too early,
Senhal lights these candles
not to read by, but to watch
the diamonds flower & die
within their hot, blue nuclei,
which seem to flicker
with secret intent
that fails, all told,
to comprehend her.
& arguably, this darkness is, for her, the best
of them, refusal of the soul
she never recognizes
as refusal of the future which she is
instead of all her otherwises—
& might she have been—
conscience-calmed—perhaps—
or else a bird
of the earthly paradise
in which one barely needs to eat
or else subsists on manna
or some other fragrant zero
denuded of the tang of death
& the numb green shade,
a starry zone,
orthogonal with luminous errata,
in which a lake of ultramarine
has been used with never parsimony
in all the places where blue is required
to smudge a Thule out
of sand & sea & air,
a seeming there
that seeming wants
to hold her in its arms,
in which one could be one
& yes the ripe quicksilver
that the artificer poured
into the throats of statues
to give them voice
had never brought the air alive
with hoarsest cries & muffled pleas
(lutes, lobsters, seas of milk, and ships of amber
did they cry?)
as if nor it nor any thing mercurial had ever learned
to savor love & poison in one mouth?