By Anselm Parlatore

The shock of semantic recognition is

also the shock of ethical recognition.

Geoffrey Hill  “Language, Suffering, and Silence”




Effusion the censored disappointment

all the splayed endearments & chastisements

a form of love, a creased & yellowed

photo, crinoline slips under your 1950s skirt

bewitching, the fragile beauty, the ethical clarity.




Later things got murky with small malices,

purulence, an exhaling. Then votive.




White boats are cosseting this harbor

& entering the reedy inlet, serpentine

plankton streaming in the current,

the tides. The black mussel shells

draped on buoy chains are gleaming,

buoys for boats named for sacrificial women.




But tonight Orion, a meandering river

of stars incised by cracks & cliffs,

pits, decorated with ripples

& flows of dust, resculptured

by our turbulent & primordial backwash,


choreographed around garish daubs

of longing & desire, a porosity

to the messy but massless particles,


the spatters against your windowpane

from these old trees, scalded

by memory, its flawless transports

of anguish, adoration & awe.


Anselm Parlatore studied creative writing @ Cornell & Dartmouth & edited Granite & Bluefish magazines. He has taught in “Poetry in the Schools Program” in NH & in NY. He has published over a dozen volumes of poetry & has published work in many magazines. He lives in Washington.

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