Five Poems, Five Days, Part IV ( and photos from the Pittsburgh reading)

The Armadillo

by Elizabeth Bishop

This is the time of year
when almost every night
the frail, illegal fire balloons appear.
Climbing the mountain height,

rising toward a saint
still honored in these parts,
the paper chambers flush and fill with light
that comes and goes, like hearts.

Once up against the sky it's hard
to tell them from the stars --
planets, that is -- the tinted ones:
Venus going down, or Mars,

or the pale green one. With a wind,
they flare and falter, wobble and toss;
but if it's still they steer between
the kite sticks of the Southern Cross,

receding, dwindling, solemnly
and steadily forsaking us,
or, in the downdraft from a peak,
suddenly turning dangerous.

Last night another big one fell.
It splattered like an egg of fire
against the cliff behind the house.
The flame ran down. We saw the pair

of owls who nest there flying up
and up, their whirling black-and-white
stained bright pink underneath, until
they shrieked up out of sight.

The ancient owls' nest must have burned.
Hastily, all alone,
a glistening armadillo left the scene,
rose-flecked, head down, tail down,

and then a baby rabbit jumped out,
short-eared, to our surprise.
So soft! -- a handful of intangible ash
with fixed, ignited eyes.

Too pretty, dreamlike mimicry!
O falling fire and piercing cry
and panic, and a weak mailed fist
clenched ignorant against the sky!

from Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters, published by The Library of America


Also: Pictures from this weekend's Hyacinth Girl Press and Gigantic Sequins poetry reading at the Modern Formations Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA.

Rachel Mennies, author of The Glad Hand of God Points Backward

Kimberly Ann Schwartz, editor of the magazine Gigantic Sequins and the author of HGP's forthcoming chapbook, efs and vees

Essayist Caitlyn Luce Christensen

Margaret Bashaar, editor of Hyacinth Girl Press, and Kimberly Ann Schwartz, the lovely organizers of the event.


Unknown said…
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