callas lover

By D. A. Powell b. 1963
this is the track I've had on REPEAT all afternoon:      she is butterfly
brilliant riband, rice flour face, silken, even her voice a sashed kimono

                             if I were foolish like her:   
                                          but aren't I foolish like her
                             spotting the coil of smoke and the billowed sail
                   against the verge of sky

simple on the rise surveying the anchorage:      simple me, signal me
dreading the confident assumption of return, dreading more
uncertain tone to come, the thinning notes, performance
too close to my own impatient—swells, a surge:      sick wind

but the emotion is, after all, an artfully conjured gesture
arranged marriage between a past ache and frail woodwinds
                             I could skip ahead
                                          could break the inconsolable loop
of harbor, waiting, overlook, waiting, inevitable waning eye

troubled robins, once more in the handkerchief trees
once more, brief aquarelle of triplet lilies, blue as willowware   
in that interval before his embrace falters, stuck, founders
              [shuffle play]    such a pitch of tenderness in the voice
                             such an awful lot of noise

Source: Poetry (January 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2008
 D. A. Powell


Born in Albany, Georgia, D.A. Powell earned an MA at Sonoma State University and an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first three collections of poetry, Tea, (1998), Lunch (2000), and Cocktails (2004), are considered by some to be a trilogy on the AIDS epidemic. Lunch was a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and Cocktails was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. His next two books were . . .

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