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Unpublished poems

Easter, 2016, Larry Rhu

Maria S. Mendes

Easter, 2016 

 

            Anthropologists of resurrection 

Must count your hat among their golden boughs.

What were the odds that day the maître d’ 

At the Imperial Café would do his job 

And hand your hat along to the concierge 

At the Imperial Hotel—that round black flat-

Topped flannel cap you wear so jauntily?

Right away, when you first felt the loss, 

The duties of such jobs became our hope.

 

            I’m no Aeneas saddled with a frail 

Old man and clinging son who soon will be 

Without a mom. I served vicariously in Troy 

And Vietnam. During the Tet Offensive

I met my first wife and at the Fall of Saigon

Said goodbye. Was that the case in Prague 

At the Imperial with the maître d’ 

And concierge? Would they do their jobs? 

 

            I came back, hat in hand, and your smile briefly

Turned me into Spencer Tracy in Adam’s Rib

His Eve receives this gift from her Adam: “Just 

The best hat in the world, for the best head”                                                             

 —Or some such line I don’t yet have down pat.

Whether I earned it, who’d deny me that?

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Two poems, Michael Longley

Maria S. Mendes

WILD ORCHIDS

 

In my synapses early purples persevering

As in a muddy tractor track across the duach;

Close to the old well and the skylarks’ nest, briefly

Marsh helleborines surviving the cattle’s hooves,

Then re-emerging at the waterlily lake

Between the drystone wall and otter corridors;

A stone’s throw from the Carrigskeewaun cottage

Two introverted frog orchids; in the distance

A hummock covered with autumn lady’s tresses,

Ivory spirals that vanish for a decade;

On the higher bank of the Owenadornaun

Above the sandmartins’ nesting holes, butterfly

Orchids like ballerinas; at Kilnaboy

Bee orchids under the sheela-na-gig’s display;

Dowdy neotinea maculata at my feet

Where the turlough below Mullaghmore disappears

Underground; against limestone grey at Black Head

Red helleborines igniting; the lesser twayblade

With its flower spike like a darning needle, tiny

And hidden away beneath a heather stand;

On the Tyrrells’ Kildalkey farm, pink pyramids;

 

Along the path to the waterfall at Cardoso,

Near Elvira’s overgrown olive grove, tongue

Orchids folded like napkins; lizard orchids

In the Mugello, shaggy, thigh-high; on Paros

Bee orchids (again) beside the marble pavement,

A blackcap singing (in Greece or Ireland?); just one

Bedraggled fly orchid in a forgotten field,

Its petals cobalt, chestnut-brown, as I recall.

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