Saturday Apr 13

RichardsonRachel Rachel Richardson is the author of Copperhead (Carnegie Mellon UP, 2011), and has published poems in the New England Review, Southern Review, Slate, Blackbird, and elsewhere. A recent Wallace Stegner Fellow, she has taught in prisons and universities around the country. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Port: Naples

Sing, mockingbird,
if you’re the one left to me,
your sultry pidgin
of east and west.
What have I ever asked for
but a word that began
and ended in the same place?
But everything evades its root. I admit
my mongrel tongue. I’ll take
the non sono qui, your morning quip.
The lemons are so ripe they thud
and spring the branch. Who am I
to speak. Let me hear the song,
however patched.
I don’t speak your language, but have
no other cure. A rhyme still echoes
a shadow of skyline
though ruins are what’s left
of the beautiful city
Urban Sea
(Palm Jumeirah, Dubai)
In the shape of a palm,
its seventeen fronds assuring every millionaire
her beach frontage—
in the shape of a mouth,
open, the liner’s length an invitation
to descend.
Drink, dear,
my darling dear, a city can be made
in the shape of a tree,
a desert wind
your Atlantis. Here every view looks outward,
here your ship’s come in.
This is a flowering:
we choose where our cities rise.
Stretch the fingers
of your hand and hold it
toward the sun.
What could lie beyond
that open grasp?