Sunday Jun 23

Ellen Dore Watson - Bio Pic Ellen Doré Watson is a poet and translator and the author of four books of poetry, most recently, This Sharpening, from Tupelo Press, which will publish Dogged Hearts in 2010.  She is director of the Poetry Center at Smith College and poetry and translation editor of The Massachusetts Review. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Tin House, and The New Yorker, and she translates from Portuguese, most notably the Brazilian poet Adélia Prado.

Fireflies at the Altar

The air here does kind of taste like lemons, thought the boy in his hammock, swaying towards the unfamiliar. The bride would be
dead within the year, everyone in their finery knew this. Which was why she brought the boy along, nestled in yellow petals that trembled
with each footfall. She’d invented him exactly
three days after diagnosis. He looked like
childhood pictures of the man waiting for her
on the altar, full of this wedding, a satin
blanket, and the way he would hold her.
The gathered ones gaped at the gray of her,

the size of his love. She cared less for its heft
than for his knowing how to tame it: sex,
the purest kind of barely-touching. Now
her body was in her dress, the ring was sliding
onto her finger. Everyone watching her become
“one” with the man who couldn’t come along.
Fire raging in the room above his head, the boy
dreamed he was brushing his teeth with fireflies,
which were not hot, but yellow, dry, and feathery.

Diminuet Feminina

Did I take hue for true? How much did I chalk up simply
to the spinning years? Without my fingers’ knowing,
a knitting—a wanting taking shape, and—bam—
what I imagined wanting next was else,
was out. Like stones, think of them,
sub-color, working their way up
Bright wet meets sun meets
wind, shine takes itself
away, and the stones
go dusty and subtle
and something
I need.