Featured in Colorado Review
Villanelle: Notes on Thoughts and VisionFeatured, Poetry
Published Fall 2010
In this periphery come apart like axioms. In the flutter-down layer of a rose
the image on screen proposed that our bridge had caught fire. Flame harping through cables through the window shows only the bridge in its perfection
traffic keeping pace. From the door leading to the garden I could not tell the difference between ash and moth. Press
the mother-of-pearl inlay to reveal the secret compartment of the little box. Here I’ll keep breath and sound
the voice-over observing that birds, gone of a sudden from the sky, register fire. The rose
comes apart in the periphery. So layer-down, so flutter sheaf of axioms flung from the apex of the bridge
as evidence that does not account for the difference between image and vision, writing and speech. Standing in the light of the pictorial window you are stained now cobalt now ruby now
amber now green. To exist, simultaneously, as both solid and liquid. To lean into a slur of syllables, vial unstoppered with the sound of wind rattled glass
I could not tell the difference between the before and the after of the garden. For both were covered with ash and bound by a covenant of moths
you transpose the idea of collapse into the sound of collapse while I work this vision of the bridge into the miniature held captive in my eye.
We photograph, as if we could take with us the view from the window. As if we could take with us the view from the door
entrance as layering of roses and axioms pressed apart
by a westerly breeze that bears a light heat. We do not need speech to distinguish the stained glass bay from the bay, the glass trees marked from their hills
by a filigree of lead I waked in air moved off-wings. Though the windows have been battened, though the crannies have been stuffed with the remnants of a dress
we stand at the door leading from the garden. Leading from the ash the valley the people who are watching and not
the screen moves with what might be a blur of white veils, wrists, gold fluting. Then the camera pans back by increments revealing a floral chain
flung into the sea. Lined with baize and glitter for stars I might fill this space with scrimshaw, Chantilly lace, a coral heart
a periphery come apart with axioms as layer after layer flutters down and we move
from door to garden, from river to bridge. From the sight of flame to the sound of the flag snapped wind.
Karla Kelsey is author of Iteration Nets (Ahsahta Press, 2010) and Knowledge, Forms, the Aviary (Ahsahta Press, 2006). She edits and contributes to Fence Books’ Constant Critic review site. On faculty at Susquehanna University, this spring she will teach in Budapest on a Fulbright.