Apr/May 2008 Poetry

Two Poems

by Sarah Yost

Requiem of the Ginkgo

the ginkgo tree: living stem
pushing up through the hole
in our weather-worn deck,
thickening with each year's layer
as the harvested lumber desiccates to rot;
a glorious gift from the previous
owners: faceless, benevolent gods
who granted us that small sip of beauty.
one day each fall we circle its trunk,
bathed in the gold flecks of a thousand
fluttering geisha fans, as the tree
unfetters its riches upon our
impoverished open palms, reaching
up, up, trying to grasp the essence
of that beautiful, ritual death.


Nanna's Heart: A Tribute

tired breaths of menthol incense hung on holy air
& grew stale waiting for the second coming. the walls dripped
yellow with years of two-cent philosophy clucked in cliché.

scarlet lacquered nails rap-tip-tapped the table
& ripped fabric for rag dolls. Lipstick on filters in the ashtray;
lipstick cinching the corners of a powdered, fallen face.

her heart: raw hamburger forgotten in the meat drawer.
painted pink with lipstick where the muscle grayed.

yet the older grandchildren claim sloe-gin sap still
bleeds through the sepia tones of her old photographs,
revealing the legacy of a crimson red queen of a heart.

they say she burned with the fury of a thousand flame-red suns
& threw herself into Pentecost to lap up tongues of fire & swallow
unconsecrated experience in great thirsty gulps. but let this story

take the general course: pain cooled passion to milk-mild
routine, and her habit of love beat on like an ancient obligation.


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