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apples_jillwagnerartdotcom_pastel painting

A tree of blood moistens the morning
where the new mother groans.
Her voice leaves crystals in the wound
and a diagram of bone in the window.

Meanwhile the coming light holds steady
and overtakes blank limits of fable that forget
the tumult of veins in its flight
toward the turbid cool of the apple.

–“Adam”, from Federico Garcia Lorca’s Primeras Canciones, 1922


The drop of ink that falls
absorbed between the fibers
of a parchment bed no pen
of yours or mine can resurrect
is spreading. Footprints of tar
pace a figure eight, delineating
nakedness that none of us can see
except in vaguely worded fantasies.
Debris across the mountain feels like warning;
a tree of blood moistens the morning

while I am still senseless
and too sensitive, I can refrain
from driving home some vagrant
point of fact no one has invited,
least of all that dead bore couple,
habit and experience. Phones
attached to hips are gathering
lone gods of randomness in droves.
Beggars with no credit offer loans
where the new mother groans

labouring to no avail, you’d think,
would set off some alarm—what child
is this? But no one’s claiming fatherhood,
and that fat bastard capital forgets
to keep his mouth closed when he chews.
What trickles from his chin is spooned
into tubes, shot straight into the veins
of pretenders to Cassandra, whose Trojan
never breaks and is still well tuned.
Her voice leaves crystals in the wound

that rub against synthetic outrage
waiting for its moment—that will never
come—of sweet approval. What tendency
is this to sprinkle vinegar upon a neighbour’s
olive grove that looks to be abandoned?
No succulent upon a fence can grow
when roots are parched of laissez-faire.
We subatomic dancers hate rehearsal,
swiftly leave behind our sold-out show
and a diagram of bone in the window.

So what did the rich man say
to the ferryman? I’ll be damned!
Only he wasn’t and still the river
foams in hopes that someone might
approach her self-creation
in a feathered cape with dignity.
Sir Walter and the puddle knew
Good Bess was on her way. All others
in the fractious crowd stayed petty.
Meanwhile the coming light holds steady

and the errant ink grows jittery
for having glimpsed the perfect
quill in V-formation flying over
Parry Sound. What if I dry
and flake apart before we two
can prove the world is wet?
The goose without a fleeting honk
flies on. She does not give her tail lightly.
Eggs of gold each day she brings to market
and overtakes blank limits of fable that forget.

Two things depreciate at the moment
of purchase: the second is worry.
Grinding mandibles on behalf of another
foretells a long decline toward mush
and not much else. No imagination
will fling you out of Eden. Paths of right
and wrong confuse the tenant farmer,
not the lord who views all he surveys
with potential, green and bright,
the tumult of veins in its flight.

Oh, sweet desire, now that you know
my name, let’s draw the canopy against
drunk beetles banging on their broken
schemes. Not all shells are suitable
for dyeing, though every word, I’m told,
will find its violin and grapple
for the pitch it hears in dreams
of paradise, giving way to the refugee,
nourished in his flight by sunlight’s dapple
toward the turbid cool of the apple.


This glosa borrows the first two stanzas of Garcia Lorca’s poem, “Adan”. The original Spanish can be found here. I’ve published a book of glosas, Dead to Rights, with an accompanying novella, Dead Edit Redo, which you can find here.

© Elaine Stirling, 2015
Translation by Elaine Stirling, © 2015
Image: pastel painting by Jill Wagner from http://www.jillwagnerart.com