Anca Vlasopolos


      the finger frightened by what the eye takes in
      pauses, goes down
      the shutter opens like a blade, goes down
      slicing this image in a frame of film that fades with time

      but then, then it was gold, gold boy, a sea
      of gold spilling over the nearly naked boy, the sand melting
      them so the boy seeps into the sand, the sea folds over
      the boy, the sand
      he posed deliberately, called to me to record it
      threw himself into these furious tides
      borne forth on foam, spilled back like a find,
      a polished stone, a fine worn shell,
      a body without life

      we played at death that summer but
      the eye, the finger knew enough to fear
      hands on ropes fast bringing in the sails
      eyes taking in voracious blood-dark waves
      did they too know their nutshell launched
      made heavy with the hopes
      of trading amber liquid into gold
      would take a deep drink, pause for a moment
      in the balanced air, water?
      see tops of cedars rise from the land like flames
      roaringly decide
      go down
      too far from shore for games of death

      boy of gold, like jeweled bird, like armored dragonfly,
      isn't he sweet, they'd say
      his mother, knife-blade smile, agreed
      for her, sweet was the coma of his ninth year
      puncture each day into his chocolate thigh
      his wings' incessant hum just like the bird’s
      decreed, she knew, he knew, by sentence
      of brief life

      crushed essences of what we bring:
      perfect pitch
      a stubborn will not to succumb
      that pushes us to launch into the wind

      a tern, a gull, a stork, a wing of sail, a dragonfly
      dipping into this ultramarine
      heading for Egypt
      heavy with dew fragrant with wild thyme
      what's life if not used up

      crushed essence in great shapes of girls
      wombs filled with honey
      from the wild lily of the dunes
      filled with muscat wines
      from hills hugging each globe of grape
      like precious water skins

      only those great shapes
      "clay over which has passed that roaring breath,
      the thing that holds what will escape the shape"
      only the shapes are resting on the sand
      grey, drained of sound, these fathoms deep

      and all that trafficking in vines fruit heavy
      sacs nectar rich sweet blood vessels soaring
      tumescence of abundance in a parched land
      drained now
      deep in blood-dark sea
      leached from a once-salt-water-swimming print
      "sea sun sand glowing into his body's light
      one foolish afternoon"
      in a hot attic
      bone polished stone baked clay
      damaged pocked greying
      somehow yet intact
      down corridors of unimagined time
      staying in mercy
      for our swimming glance

Date of Birth: October 14, 1948
Location: Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Occupation: Professor of English
Publications: Branches Quarterly, Typo Magazine, Avatar Review, etc.
Book: No Return Address: A Memoir of Displacement (Columbia UP, 2000); Through the Straits, At Large (poetry collection, Ridgeway P, 1997); Missing Members (detective novel, Corridors P, 1990)
Awards: National Writer's Voice Grant for Creative Non-Fiction, 2001. Wayne State University Board of Governors Award for No Return Address

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