His Artificial Lover Sings a Wordless Song

The year of silence coming to an end
my artificial lover joined me on the fevered wheel

to the tune of Tinkers Polka, Plums of Purity,
Under the Double Eagle, When

the White Magnolias Bloom...
Artificial love was in flower

amidst the revolutionary fragments.
I wondered then, do captive griffins roar

in their dreams? The Mosquito Waltz,
Tiger Mourning for Its Shadow...

Far from the real
a day of naked beauty, filtered light.

Do children link their arms as before?
Do they play at rounders, blindman’s buff?

Will the despoilers have it all
to themselves? Even the textured sky?

Xi Chuan, we often ask the same
questions it seems, or is it simply

that together we studied the stars
in Mechanicsville? Orion’s Belt shown,

the Sisters and the Drinking Gourd.
Words formed

their own
seamless patterns

one moment,
sundered the next.

My artificial lover joined me on time’s wheel
in the painted world.

The birds of the hours
crossed and recrossed

before us.
The crowded barques set out.

Contributor

Michael Palmer

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