Melissa R. Benham
FOR GALA-SALVADOR GALI
September 9, 1934
Skyturned, Salvador's mustache . . .
safely gripped order of the world just inches from
the young man's brain. Out of the paint. One
afternoon in time, a small warm camel and Hitler
dropped in, rhinoceros horns for hands; a breath
of particles just breaking. They greeted the
painter in his studio to say, Good morning, Old
Friend! And what prodigious thing have you done
today? The young man peered upwards to the
ceiling, adjusting the thermometer in his mouth.
Not a bit I understand, only that, just this morning,
I captured my love's disagreeable face in the
atomic breath of Vermeer. Satisfied with this
answer, Hitler promptly mounted the camel and
the two rode out to have a look at the storm
coming in off the Mediterranean.
April 17, 2000
In a manner of speaking . . .
I carried the small man as he left himself open to
the rain. A scent of rocks and waxy leaves slept
into our clothes. I was terrible with holding his
weight away from the ground. There at the curb
I noticed his worn hands clutching the air, as if to
sponge in the outrageous black of night. Arriving
at my car, he thanked me, pressed against my ear.
"Ah, my precious" and to smile: for branches had
begun to sprout through my hair and simply there,
three women to be reflected in wide pupils of his
eyes. A figure resembling the visage of Helen
burning in my place. In black ink his fingers dipped
to paint a Medusa of sleep upon my skin and in a
shift of light, we found ourselves back in Cadaques,
lifting our feet from the sand.
January, 23, 1989
Within a book a reminder of a day before me . . .
of a year where I was but a gash of a girl. January
23rd, the hours canceling their ancestors of years
before. Then, a smoker of twenty-three days,
huddled in wool tights, edging the tall brick wall
of junior high, breaking free into this brittle after-
noon. This anniversary we were to overlook.
At approaching night we would say goodbye to
the day, and watching the news, close the curtains,
turn off the light. On another coast there barely
breathes a master, wrapped up like a sad egg
inverting its movement. A last visit to his drifting
head, he thinks: I love us both so much. Dodging
enormous windows I crept close to the ground. A
Spanish sky tore away in rags from the craggy
puzzle of rock. The field is empty before me and
puffs of snow begin long descents, as if breaking
from a solid. Opening his eyes, he is given to sweet
surprise. There upon indefinite light waits a perfect
chair, erected to hold only the fever just escaping.
Nearing the road, I turn, a breath filling my hands.
Date of Birth:
San Francisco, California
Starters 5/8, Infrequencies, People Have Ears, Between Darkness and Light, Poetry Super Highway
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