From “Critical Opalescence and the Blueness of the Sky”

By John De Stefano John De Stefano
Shrugging shallowly down, burrowing
in beneath the heaps of plumped cork- and sallow-
brown leaf, beneath the oak and the brittle bean-

dripping locust and the still so innocent fruit
trees—bare-boughed and newly blossoming—skinnily
shadowing the frost-seared grasses, I and my

“now” [in this pictured perfect] four-
year-old daughter, huddled, hidden, lie
low. I remember hiding in the fort

too: bedtimes once how snug among books and the plush
beasts we spoke the speech of angels. Now the world is huge-
ly hushed. The winter sky is hard, kiln-fired

blue. The cherry wood retouched with buds. And small,
untimely flowers like blood-drops on the snow.

Time lapsed. Time dwelt. There was nothing
apparently to those rumors of rescue
or reprisals. Absence only

emptied the mind. The fond heart felt
light—likewise lifted right and justly up
to praise the day as it was to high

heaven. You were a “find”: rare, rose-
lipped, hennaed, ochred, kohled, long black-
stockinged O like one of Schiele’s urewig
girls, flashing a shy semaphore—

spelling eloquently out the f-
word, tenderly revisiting its history.
Lust—like love lost—was the catalyst:
exquisitely expedient, unchanged.

Source: Poetry (September 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2012


John de Stefano’s poems in this issue come from his manuscript “Critical Opalescence and the Blueness of the Sky.” He lives in Manhattan and makes a living as a translator.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

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