dreaming flamingos

audubon flamingo

I’m New England woman in my mind,
a transcendental eyeball on a hill…
I’m hiking boots pacer in gray wool
sweater under layered against itch

I’m gazer at dewed spider webs,
I’m sheltered…early in a box house
of sunsilvered windblown pine

and…I dream about flamingos
pin Geographic glossies inside
my kitchen cupboard door…where
I store white cups and plates and bowls

and… I think about the hearing of
their raucous squawking in flame pink
beauty pools…and I smile to think
they synchronize direction in a gawky
urgent mating dance…there in Africa,
Peru…Belize…Galapagos…and…and
the Caribbean…in narrow arrow flight,
flower washed rose carnation amaranth

now…I gaze at tropic embers in my hearth
glimmering…resin sputters in gray ash
and I boil live lobsters in a cooking pot
and listen for their tiny scream

 

Bonnie Marshall

Art by John Audubon
“Flamingo and Roseate Spoonbill”

close as Venice

drafts-for-metal-relief-1904 kolmon moser

and if shores wash orange with sea change
and flamingos wade a pink foamed beach
and meridians slip north and south…where
ice islands…harmless…circle earth cool clear
cubes of iridescence

and people sing to each other close like Venice
and hand-write words to paper…slips pinned
to color coded windows…walls and doors shaded
for degrees of dark despair…and lightened for
the bloom of promises…and hope

we shall become a silent movie stuff of need
to tell and touch with bonds direct..profound and
strange as emerald studded starfish on the sands
and oysters hatching diamonds in our hands

 

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Kolmon Moser
Draft for a Metal Relief, 1904

mea culpa

monet claude 1872

nubbin teeth budded in my pink mouth
enough for me to chew bland mush my
giants spooned to me for nourishment;
damn them…for I deep needed tart lemon
sour pickle…sweet vanilla on my tongue

 
their Santa lies transmogrified wonder
to fat laps fake beards…fly specked nasty
so abhorrent even outstretched fingers
on a Sistine ceiling cannot heal my wound

 
and I regret…regret…oh damn me;
my malnourished words moistened
beige I…now enormous with their
power…I dutiful and diligent…slip
pale listless to the innocent

 
Bonnie Marshall

Art by Claude Monet

 

in the buttery

cassatt child drinking milk

his mother calls it the buttery,
their root cellar in the cave…
where raw milk awaits cleavage
of acidic watermilk beneath
ascending cream

son enters…flames a match
to stub candles on a barrel…
along walls are bins of apples
carrots squash potatoes all
arrested…chilled in the dark;
a shiver sweats across his back

he skims sweet milk…thickened
to his mouth…across his tongue
in cool solitary…needs its satin
satisfaction after haying swelter
monotonous with row and row;
straw prickles on his arms…his legs

then…in a summer barn with cows
full uddered warm above his hand
his fingers stroke a rhythm…milking;
and he is drawn to memory of breast

 

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Mary Cassatt

 

gatherings for the ceremony

feast andrea kowch

come to the feast…
and drink clear water
seeped through stone
from cliffside springs
onto your tongue…
taste eras there…sip
country pheasant broth
strained enough to hint
of flight within its essence…
bite through the flesh
of warm-ed figs
to taste the green first
sprung through earthy loam
upon a rocky hill…
gnaw wild deer ribs
fire pit turned, spine cracked
to portions of hot muscle…
we throw the bones to darkness
in the corners of the room

and know…

it’s a mead hall time of year for me
with cravings for smoked shadows
salt crystalled cod and clove mulled wine
crisp partridge and roast deer
the heart strong wild of bear…
for I must taste strong flavors
touch sweat from sharp stone walls
smooth splinters roughed in pine
drip tallow on my palm
watch dust motes drift in shafts of light
hear sighs of sea-born rain
gnaw shreds of happiness
from bones of memory.

and…

I shall feed you flowers…
not as Oberon…tactician
strategist of magical intent;
I’ll find no tinctured potion
of Love-in-idleness to wake
you to a baseless passion

I need no Puck to gather
marigolds… petals I would
scatter on a dark green bed
of watercress to be garnish
peppery…for your wakening
of desire

I shall gather orange nasturtium
in the morning when chill night
has dew filled its tiny cups with
drops of sweet clear nectar I
shall offer to the wakening
of your sleep parched lips

and I shall place carnation petals
on your tongue for cinnamon and
nutmeg…and one violet for cleansing
to prepare you for my kisses

 

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Andrea Kowch