[from Valerie Martinéz’s Absence, Luminescent, Four Way Books, 1999]
And Seeing It
Orange, orange. And the hand arching up
to hold it. The woman’s hand. The arching.
Up. And the star exploding, seeing it
where it wasn’t, a telescope on the night sky.
The thermonuclear flash.
She had her hand out; it fell
like an explosion into her fingers.
It wasn’t the scope and the eye,
was hand, fruit. It was what I saw.
It was what I imagine I somehow saw.
Out on the horizon of stars beyond the gigantic sun.
Beyond the measure of the sun the star bursting.
And it was autumn. The shadows of oleanders
made colors of bodies on the lawn.
The girls’ dresses were red on the green lawn,
smelling of fruit.
Making shapes of fruit in their hands.
With the sky all opaque, and the one star.
There, at the top of her fingers, the orange.
At the tip like God and Adam touching.
Like the ceiling of the Sistine where the stars might be.
And knowing about hydrogen, carbon.
A collapsing in. The water drunk by girls,
the breath given out. Breath, out.
The table of elements, the elements served up.
Iron in the spinach in the aqua bowl.
Green explosion in the aqua bowl.
Clusters of grape stems without grapes.
Molecular models like grape stems.
To what we address, link.
To what we speak.
Not in our lifetime will we see it.
Not in our sky like this: supernova.
Not ever again they say.
Drops. The orange.
Absence, Luminescent (Levis Poetry Prize)