May

May

By Karen Volkman b. 1967 Karen Volkman
In May’s gaud gown and ruby reckoning
the old saw wind repeats a colder thing.
 
Says, you are the bluest body I ever seen.
Says, dance that skeletal startle the way I might.
 
Radius, ulna, a catalogue of flex.
What do you think you’re grabbing
 
with those gray hands? What do you think
you’re hunting, cat-mouth creeling
 
in the mouseless dawn? Pink as meat
in the butcher’s tender grip, white as
 
the opal of a thigh you smut the lie on.
In May’s red ruse and smattered ravishings
 
you one, you two, you three your cruder schemes,
you blanch black lurk and blood the pallid bone
 
and hum scald need where the body says I am
and the rose sighs Touch me, I am dying
 
in the pleatpetal purring of mouthweathered May.

Karen Volkman, “May” from Spar. Copyright © 2002 by Karen Volkman. Reprinted by permission of University of Iowa Press.

Source: Spar (University of Iowa Press, 2002)

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Poet Karen Volkman b. 1967

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Nature, Spring, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

 Karen  Volkman

Biography

Born in Miami, poet Karen Volkman earned a BA at New College and an MA at Syracuse University and completed a year of doctoral studies at the University of Houston. Her poetry collections include Crash’s Law (1996), selected for the National Poetry Series by Heather McHugh; Spar (2002), which won the James Laughlin Award and the Iowa Poetry Prize; and Nomina (2008). Her poetry has been featured in the anthologies The New . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Nature, Spring, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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