Anca Vlasopolos

Psyche Readings

who knows the release of the soul?

Parthenon, throng of tourists thick enough to cloud the ascent
yet as you hold out your hand for Psyche
it finds you, rests on your proffered palm,
flutters an adieu kiss on fine skin of your upturned wrist
lover’s gone lips one last time

who will know the release of the soul when they see it?

fingerling birds in the locust, yarmulkes no bigger
than the wan locust leaves

you mistake them for good augury
all that you fear will take flight

but they flitter, illusion,
they dart into vision like arrowheads,
lodge in brain

they portend nothing but their own business
the coming of death the coming of life



       you heard the cicadas' electromagnetic racket
       peter down to unconvinced hammering
       cricket set up his lonely house of sound in the rose roots

light slants so
it ripens an unexpected side of tomatoes
throws afternoon shade where you counted
on long flowerings

yet this relentless heat is summer's
you want to believe
and you bend over hydrangeas still needing water
       roses blooming like fools

behind you
hear dry leaves driven over the pavement
       clickety clack
       trot pulling that chariot
       heeding no raised hand
       making no stop


Excellent Condition

                an ad in the paper, dining room, excellent
                condition, brought the woman
                who didn't know the city but believed
                despite being told and told
                that you could go anywhere with a map

                the woman wanting to sell asked the woman
                wanting to buy
                over the threshold of her own home
                across the ocean between them
                they didn't waste time haggling
                the woman wanting to buy knowing
                that what she saw was too dear
                the woman selling knowing the other would buy
                if she could for she murmured, you kept it beautiful,
                and hands, the skin on one blending
                into polished mahogany,
                the other knotted, freckled,
                both beyond manicure,
                ran along woodgrain like old champion skaters
                easing into a turn

                not wanting to leave gracelessly the woman who came
                said eyeing a purple cascade, so full, so beautiful,
                and the other, not wanting to let her leave without
                letting her know that she knew how it was
                to be a stranger
                said, I'll give you a cutting. All it takes
                is water and it'll root,
                their hands touching over the plant, waving at parting

                years later possessed of a need to name
                I looked it up in a book of houseplants
                said to my mother, it's a wandering jew,
                apt, she said,
                wait, no, I said, maybe it's moses in the bullrushes


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