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Under the Dome

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At times they will fly under. The dome
contains jungles. Invent a sky under the dome.

Creatures awake, asleep, at play, aglow:
they float – unbottled genii – under the dome.

Southern Belle, a splash of black, dusted with gold,
dissembles, assembling, acts shy under the dome.

Cattleheart, Giant Swallowtail, Clipper:
sail, navigate sky high under the dome.

Like confetti – a wedding – bits of Rice
Paper: sheer mimicry under the dome.

Magnificent Owl, in air, a pansy,
it feeds, wings up, eye to eye, under the dome.
Name them: Monarch, then Queen, last Viceroy.
What will scientists deify under the dome?
Basking against a leaf: a Banded Orange,
displayed like a bowtie under the dome.

A living museum. Exist to be observed:
never migrate, but live, then die, under the dome.

Lips, lashes, eyes. From outside in,
do beings magnify under the dome?

Lepidoptera. From the Greek: Scale-wing.
Chrysalis. Stay, butterfly, under the dome.

Elise Paschen, “Under the Dome” from Bestiary. Copyright © 2009 by Elise Paschen. Reprinted with permission by Red Hen Press.
Source: Bestiary (Red Hen Press, 2009)
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Under the Dome

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  • Poet and editor Elise Paschen was born and raised in Chicago. She earned a BA at Harvard University, where she won the Lloyd McKim Garrison Medal and the Joan Grey Untermeyer Poetry Prize, and went on to receive a PhD in 20th century British and American Literature at Oxford University with a dissertation on the manuscripts of poet William Butler Yeats. During her time at Oxford she also co-founded Oxford Poetry.

    Influenced by the work of both Yeats and Elizabeth Bishop, Paschen’s poems often engage the intersection of the mythic and the domestic. As the daughter of Osage prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, Paschen has discussed the importance of “family romance” to her origins as a writer. In an interview with the Valparaiso Poetry Review, she noted, “It is a myth I attempt to fathom and understand. As an only child, I often discovered refuge in the world of the...

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