By Mary Lee
all the tulips and their delight. Every
desire I find I take
an axe to. I shovel the flowers back
into the earth. The typist
in my brain is punching away, saying
mangoes! finches! a leaf! other
small miracles and for a moment
I do, I almost believe
these words could be useful. These words
which are not unlike the colorful
string of knotted scarves I once saw
a magician pull from between
his teeth. How the unraveling seemed
to go on forever. An easier trick:
one only needs to close both eyes.
It’s that simple. Everything
vanishes. Goodbye, I wave as I climb
into a bed of moss, never to return.
The moss could become a hat,
the hat could become a finch,
the finch could finally disappear.
Yes, I can hear the birds sleeping,
opening themselves up to the night.
No more of morning’s
brightness ringing in my ears.
“I wrote this poem on a summer morning in Arizona while thinking of several things—the sun’s intense gaze and my desire to disappear from it, the quiet persistence of birds through the night, and the mind’s imaginative resilience. I’m grateful to the editors for selecting this poem and hope it offers up some small miracles: mangoes, magicians, moss…”
Mary H. Lee holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow in Poetry. Nominated for Best New Poets and shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship, her recent poems can be found in the New England Review. She lives and writes in Phoenix.