Text of the Poem

(Poetry for Students)

  As in an illuminated page, whose busy edges
have taken over. As in jasmine starred
onto the vine-dense walls, stands of phlox,
and oranges, the flesh of each chilled turgid.
By herself the sleepwalking girl arranged
them: the paper airplanes now wrecked
on the vines, sodden, crumpled into blooms
which are mistaken all morning for blooms.

The paint curls out of the tubes like ointments.
In his first looking there is too much hurry. 10
Dandelions, irises smelling of candles.
Two clouds like legs on the bathwater sky.

Drawn out of the background green, getting
the light before everything else, the almond
tree comes forward in a white cumulus, 15
as though the spring had not allowed leaves.

Last night she asked what temperature arctic
water could be that beings remained in it.
Then the question brought to the blood
inside her cat, the pillow of heat on a chair. 20

His glimpse smudged. As in: it's about time
I made you dizzy. Here are pink grasses,
shrubs incandesced to lace, tapestry
slopes absorbing figures and birds and deer.
Nothing is lean. The lilacs have prospered
into bundles, the tulips fattened hearts.
Pelts of nasturtiums, the thicket the color of
pigeon: gray netted over the blueberry lodes.

Then the girl's scream, her finger stirring
the emerald tadpole-water, the sound 30
breaking into his glimpse for an instant
then subsiding to become a part of the picture.

Not the icy killing water. But the lives there,
persisting aloft. Like the wasps held in
by a shut flower at dusk, by morning released, 35
dusty as miners, into the restored volumes.