a symmetry of doubt with us
at the center
– Tess Gallagher, “Time Lapse with Tulips”
By the end of the reading it seems natural, this twinning
of incandescent phrase & florescent face.
A female poet must acknowledge the physical
in a way the male poet need not, I suppose,
& Gallagher goes for the aesthetic of surprise, inclining
as if into a strong wind to welcome our applause,
that violent travesty of prayer.
Would she take questions? She would.
And me with my hand over my head, a-twitch
with a question of such naive-sounding sincerity
everyone will laugh, afraid to let our visitor think
we might all be so simple. But she will go ahead
& answer in the same spirit.
There might have been a bouquet in the interim –
roses, carnations, something from
the florist down the street. It all went by so quickly.
It might have been April, the storm drains
suddenly plastered with petals, white, red.