Zeus to Juno

By Fiona Sampson b. 1963 Fiona Sampson

You saw the way her body looked at me   
         all address
                     calling me down   
she was so
                     curve and volume
her body presented itself—
                     I could mold it


You were taboo   
not totem—
covered her   
though your wing gave no shelter

Your pale plumage   
became shadow   
Your beak caught   
in the net of her hair


When I entered her
         her death became my life   
in her death swoon
         she fell away from me   
the more she fell
         the deeper I pursued her   
the deeper I went
         the more lost she became   
her body
         became a forest of echoes   
hills and valleys
         echoing each other, a language
I didn't know—
         surrounded: alone


The discarded body   
lies in long grass   
Flies and wasps   
fumble there—

on a summer day   
the lost girl hums—
Kelly, Sarah, Joanne changed   
into parable

Prodigal hair   
flung out   
             body agape   
like a question

The scavenger crow knows—
she's beautiful,
outgrowing her name   
in the noon heat

Source: Poetry (November 2008).


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

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November 2008
 Fiona  Sampson


Fiona Sampsonwas born in London and trained as a violinist. Her early musical studies and professional career as a musician in Europe influenced her editing and writing. She studied at Oxford University and received a PhD in the philosophy of language from Nijmegen University in the Netherlands. Her poetry collections include Folding the Real (2001); The Distance Between Us (2005), a novel in verse; Common Prayer (2007); and . . .

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