Mary Ruefle
The Brooch

After Keats's death, Severn wanted to have made

a gold brooch in the shape of a lyre

with strands of John's hair for the strings.

In Oceania this doesn't amount to a thing.

The Hawaiian king stood resplendent

in his cape of feathers.

Ninety thousand birds were captured and killed

for their orange and yellow wings.

It took a century to complete, a century

for a man to become a bird.

Keats took a few minutes one afternoon

while writing a letter.

Still, there is no pin:

in all of Rome, Severn could not find a goldsmith

who could crimp the hair-strings in.

Found In Volume , No. 05
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Mary Ruefle
About the Author

Mary Ruefle's latest book is Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013).