Ann Cefola

If I suffer with Christ, the priest says, I will attain glory.
Did the Son of Man ever put forehead to train window?
Was he ever told he was exquisitely sensitive?
          Half moon like a dish exposed in black sink water.
          Seductive honeysuckle on certain streets at night
          Canines panting to keep up the 10 p.m. pace
Did a cobalt river run through him?
Did he intuit the fiery sparkle no one could see?
Darkest room alight with blue.
          white iris before it arcs toward earth
          lilac that breaks into uncountable purple curls
          transcending bagpipe drone like tongues
I have walked through Patience and Fortitude.
Trembled around laminate tables as someone
dismisses my writing as this.
          coral lipstick I apply to repaint myself
          silvered cell phone to hear loved ones’ breath
          mist chasing New Yorkers in their city black
I have run up library steps in rain to stand
with strangers like a choir facing east,
red umbrellas and black glistening on Fifth.
          Designated walkway means a plank between tracks
          Young women in sundresses like a school of fish 

          The open palm people raise to the sky after a downpour
Inside, exhibit on the French Occupation.
A poet is always an occupied country.
Iris, lilac, bagpipe. Lipstick, cell, mist.
I grab a flyer, find my pen and begin to resist.

Ann Cefola is the author of Free Ferry (Upper Hand Press, 2017), and Face Painting in the Dark (Dos Madres Press, 2014); translator of The Hero (Chax Press, 2018), and Hence this cradle (Seismicity Editions, 2007); and recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Award selected by John Ashbery.

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