Inside each bolt of lightning scarlet sparks, like petals of Columbine, sizzled before father’s thunder. There we thrived on our own guilt, its rendezvous with obsession, its little lives trembling, rife with imaginary anxieties… The garden full of phlox, the thought-petals pillaged by furry bees inside whose congregations galaxies of yellow burned like small suns. However graceful the garden, our Ladys’ Gloves reminded us we had time on our hands—those hands our own five-fingered blossoms. However long the pause of the eagle held aloft by thermals charcoal-colored rocks exhaled— there was only the one life we wasted. Perhaps folly waited up the road under the forest canopy. There moss hid hordes of erotica banished by columbine’s nectary. It was this flower that embellished the heights from which we gazed down, each year a little older, each day wearing a light coat of sweat and musk as we went about our business, re-inventing the memory of memory, letting our dead come closer to being long and far away.
Judith Skillman’s eleventh collection of poems is Prisoner of the Swifts, Ahadada Books, reviewed in the current issue of Melusine. Heat Lightning: New and Selected Poems, 1986–2006 was published by Silverfish Review Press, 2006. The recipient of an award from the Academy of American Poets for her book Storm (Blue Begonia Press, 1998), Skillman’s work has appeared in Poetry, FIELD, The Southern Review, The Iowa Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, Seneca Review, and numerous other journals and anthologies. Please see www.judithskillman.com for more information.