Gillian Conoley
Lamentation for Martha Graham

On a country porch a traveler in shadow

is such a darkness you could marry

 

one summer night a lament with a mild wind,

refrain to refrain. Drive the gravel to lyric,

 

and a movement never lies,

a fate takes shape, Noguchi's metal dress.

 

Bead your lashes with a wax candle,

compose a face

 

human and flawed like art out of nothing

and try for a few hours to live forever

 

though they'll cut you in two,

the river and the moon.

 

Live alone in time, each gesture

the ruth of a sudden rain,

 

a wind turning through a red farmhouse

flush with cloud, Appalachia,

 

cold air of the white camellia.

It's the human gait.

 

On the frontier a woman fell backwards

in a black evening gown,

 

her sinewy waist an enemy of snow.

Leaving an expanse so wide, sweet audience,

 

we did not want the night to end.

We did not want to leave the building.

 
Found In Volume , No. 01
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Gillian Conoley
About the Author

Gillian Conoley is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Peace (2014), The Plot Genie (2009), Profane Halo (2005), Lovers In The Used World (2001), and Tall Stranger (1991), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  Her work has been featured in many anthologies, including American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry (2009), Lyric Postmodernisms: An Anthology of Contemporary Innovative Poetries (2008), and Best American Poetry (1997). Her translations of Henri Michaux, collected in Thousand Times Broken: Three Books by Henri Michaux (2014), had never been brought into English before.