At Sachuest Point, Easter
by Claire Keyes
Where the rocks jut out furthest
into the sea, mergansers
prowl the shallows, winter guests
who are avid connoisseurs
of small, slippery fishes.
The lone male, his head feathers
distinguishing him, rakish
and tilted both, is handsome
but blasé. Just so, wishes
for Easter baskets, for some
chocolate chicks and pink eggs
have long faded and become
childish dreaming, the last dregs
of pagan myth. The surf creams
and whispers as if it begs
to differ. Granite rock seems
solid yet jagged cracks split
ledge from ledge. My savior-dreams
likewise strong, yet counterfeit,
crumbled. The big old Easter
moon remains. Late last night
it flooded the shore-line, her
moon, the moon of the goddess
Eos. Its bright curvature
signals rebirth and fullness,
the intrigue of spring waiting
to be seen, and, yes, to bless.
Dodgson with Frames
by Carol Frith
Alice holds a mirror: spherical or flat?
Borrowed images—polished bronze
or glass that’s sputter-backed with silver.
Alice, falling through the story: French
mirror in a water-gilded frame,
a child’s cloudy image in the aging glass.
Frames—acanthus (scrolled) or egg and dart,
gesso with cartouches, assorted spandrels.
Alice, in your three-tiered skirt,
did he tell you beauty is a state of grace,
a mirror trick—beveled pier glass in
a giltwood frame? Alice in the English
mirror with a button trellis frame or
maybe silver-burnished like a child’s plate.
Alice, cautious child, remember Godstow?
Picnics on the dark, deserted road?
Is that the Nunnery in your oval mirror
with its bright rococo gilt? When
the mirror darkened in its frame, did
he stammer, Alice? Did he teach you
falling sums inside the mottled glass?
The Onset of Autobiographical Memory
by Kelley Madigan Erlandson
A woman says she remembers her own birth
and this is the primary reason
she cannot work to feed herself
but must rest in the afternoons
with a cool cloth over her forehead.
She talks about her birth at odd times,
the sensation of air replacing water
like coming up out of the sea
from skin diving, water streaming
over the crown of her head.
She raises the story, an umbrella
held between her fingers that fails
to shield her. Always the intrusion
of recollection, the assault of a multitude
of colors after the dim interior,
the screech and clank of the world.
Ever since, she has found the human voice
too precise. Swimming underwater
is of some relief, and certain medications
kept in large supply at her bedside.
This is the way the world has damaged her,
the curse of memory starting its engine
prematurely. Always she seeks forgetfulness:
lying down in the snowdrift; throwing coins
into the coated throats of slot machines;
rearranging her red dishes
in the safety of the cupboards. Still, her bones
recall the crush, and the headaches come,
and she retreats to the canopied bed,
curtains pulled close like a membrane,
the pendulum clock a second heartbeat
overriding her own.