“…rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms…”

“…rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms…”

“…a flowery band to bind us to the earth…”

“…a flowery band to bind us to the earth…”

“…Its loveliness increases, it will never pass into nothingness…”

“…Its loveliness increases, it will never pass into nothingness…”

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever…”

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever…”

“…one for my master, one for my dame…”

“…one for my master, one for my dame…”

“…they light and open on the doubled hands of eucalyptus fronds”

Valentine
By Lorna Dee Cervantes
Cherry plums suck a week’s soak,
overnight they explode into the scenery of before
your touch. The curtains open on the end of our past.
Pink trumpets on the vines bare to the hummingbirds.
Butterflies unclasp from the purse of their couplings, they
light and open on the doubled hands of eucalyptus fronds.
They sip from the pistils for seven generations that bear
them through another tongue as the first year of our
punishing mathematic begins clicking the calendar
forward. They land like seasoned rocks on the
decks of the cliffs. They take another turn
on the spiral of life where the blossoms
blush & pale in a day of dirty dawn
where the ghost of you webs
your limbs through branches
of cherry plum. Rare bird,
extinct color, you stay in
my dreams in x-ray. In
rerun, the bone of you
stripping sweethearts
folds and layers the
shedding petals of
my grief into a
decayed holo-
gram—my
for ever
empty
art.

“…Perhaps such pleasures are denied to those who never feel obliged…”

Dividend of the Social Opt Out

BY JENNIFER MOXLEY

How lovely it is not to go. To suddenly take ill.

Not seriously ill, just a little under the weather.
To feel slightly peaked, indisposed. Plagued by
a vague ache, or a slight inexplicable chill.
Perhaps such pleasures are denied
to those who never feel obliged. If there are such.
How pleasant to convey your regrets. To feel sincerely
sorry, but secretly pleased to send them on their way
without you. To entrust your good wishes to others.
To spare the equivocal its inevitable rise.
How nice not to hope that something will happen,
but to lie on the couch with a book, hoping that
nothing will. To hear the wood creak and to think.
It is lovely to stay without wanting to leave.
How delicious not to care how you look,
clean and uncombed in the sheets. To sip
brisk mineral water, to take small bites
off crisp Saltines. To leave some on the plate.
To fear no repercussions. Nor dodge
the unkind person you bug.
Even the caretaker has gone to the party.
If you want something you will have to
get it yourself. The blue of the room seduces.
The cars of the occupied sound the wet road.
You indulge in a moment of sadness, make
a frown at the notion you won’t be missed.
This is what it is. You have opted to be
forgotten so that your thoughts might live.