Sweet Romanian Tongue

Drew down the curse of heaven on her umbrella
furled and smelling of wet cigarettes,
Jo ran off in rain one pitchy night,
one bloody a.m. found her staring, snoring.

“Why do we all stay up so late?” Jo queried.
“Though I don’t stay up so late as my friends.”
She tripped the little bomb of wasps.
They got her.

Tears for Jo, four, each perfect, waspish.
A silver tongue and piss-blond hair
decants a funeral oblation for the mouse.
“She was a rare sight, a winning wonder.
Jo cultivates her toothaches elsewhere.”
James Schuyler, "Sweet Romanian Tongue" from Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems, edited by James Meetze and Simon Pettet, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2010 by the Estate of James Schuyler. All rights reserved.
Source: Poetry (November 2009)
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