Beth Bachmann 




Darkness overtakes the house – the shadow of Icarus’ wing
or the sun sinking below the water.

A mosquito caught in the light crackles, hovers almost
and then arches his back and lets go.

It’s too early yet for the stars to grace us
with a sacrificial dance,
            a little one about spring, perhaps, or ecstasy.
            Weeping after a riot. Abduction.

In the garden, a swarm refuses to listen,
waltzes frenzied on the broken roses.




Hey gravedigger, bonepicker, kneller of bells
biting your nails won’t keep us from reading your lips.

What we need here is not the rock on your finger
bright enough to spade a heart, rip open a glass eye.

We don’t need your claw-footed spittoon
or your rendition of muttering waters,

a slow dance, a bouquet tossed
in the churchyard. Lover, just give me

a pocketful of stones to skip across the River,
a hipflask of Lethe.

Beth Bachmann’s poems are forthcoming in The Southern Review, The Antioch Review, and Image. She teaches creative writing at Vanderbilt University.