Lilac Field

By Dorothea Lasky b. 1978 Dorothea Lasky
To perform death is something only humans would do
No animal would sit there
With a blank look on its face
Just because the camera is there

No no an animal would look directly in it
Or cover its face, like the overweight
Woman in the picture in the magazine
By the room where I keep my bed

What people don’t understand about beauty
Is that after all it is not fleeting
After all it is so gross to be that way
That someone sees among you

After all, to call into question
I painted my lips, my eyes
Only our scholars know that
To perform is to be malleable

To perform in language
Or was it
The large purple insect I let in the room
Or was it the furred face — the hippo or the gorge

That I was the devil in the wood
In my own bones that I knew the face
That I took that face
Was it midnight blue sky

No, were my wings iridescent
Even in these lines
The voice moves you
What sense of exquisite cause

Moves you past these lines
Into conversation
With the undead

I don’t know
That is something
You will have to answer for yourself
I came back to this place to help you

And that I did
Shoot sparks of green and gray
Through time
What skin sack

I put myself  in
I mean for what, why,
Or who
Did I manage to do this for if not you

Lilaced thing
The soft rustle of  beetle wings
In air that is warm and gray
And is not strong

But there, is there to carry us past it

Source: Poetry (April 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2014
 Dorothea  Lasky


Dorothea Lasky was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She earned a BA at Washington University and an MFA at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has published three collections of poetry, AWE (2007), and Black Life (2010), and Thunderbird (2012), as well as several chapbooks, including the polemical Poetry Is Not a Project (2010). Her poems have appeared in a number of prominent publications, including the New . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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