L. S. Klatt
A dire young man finds a cello. He bobs up & down
with the warp of it; he is sprawled over the wreck of it.
He is fed (clouds scud, winds menace) by a few stalks of cane
that sugar his lips as he saws at the nethermost strings.
From where comes the cane? From the silt inside the cello.
The silt is quartz & feldspar; it looks like all the sand
of the sphinx. It proves to the castaway that the cello
cannot be embittered if it is as it once was.
Take us to the saffron hills, the angelfish
in swimming pools, a graveyard.
And mark for us the Lepidoptera, the 88s
that have strayed from South America
& which seem to be asking a series
of astronomical questions. Why, dazed
by our pleasures, would we acknowledge
wishes that are wilder than our left hands?
The weather, so people say, has changed
our opinion about the fiery end of cities.
But when we ride in our tricked out,
two-door Eldorado, it is praiseworthy
to bury one another in song; in
the same way, we become superlative.
The yellowthroat laments the big bang; the upshot
is that, as star shrapnel, the bird has a ways to go.
The on-again, off-again phrasing of the warbler is felt as raindrops.
Thunder overwhelms all of it; the lightning,
catalyst, widespread over an orchard, cannot pinpoint
which note is in which place at which time.
So be it; there is need for a yellowthroat as warped as a Bosc pear.
A dead fox in the forest; young George Washington espies it. He
gets off his horse, an invisible horse, & inspects the orange & cream-
colored loins of the fox which has expired like the April snow
in a bed of pine needles. He pauses as if for a portrait, & when the sun
hits his head he seems to be crowned with a jeweled miter. In a few short
months, he will be reaching for a rose, & later someone will call him “the urchin,”
& later still a compatriot will dismantle his mouth & hold up his tooth
with tongs. The real but invisible horse joins a few indistinct cows that,
following their own code of conduct, have wandered away
from the homestead. Above, floating on clouds, the bystanders.
New work from L. S. Klatt has appeared in VOLT, Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Drunken Boat, Fourteen Hills, DIAGRAM, and The Common. Cloud of Ink, his second collection, won the Iowa Poetry Prize. A third volume, Sunshine Wound, is due out later this year from Free Verse Editions (Parlor Press)