“‘but painters and poets
Always have had the right to dare anything.’
We know and claim that right, and grant it in turn.”
—Quintus Horatius Flaccus
A pale arm rises from the marsh,
point up, presents a sword to the dreamer.
The dreamer grasps the blade with both hands.
Blood spreads in the bog—stirs unquiet thoughts
among bodies sleeping there.
In springtime, a white flower falls from the cherry.
It’s caught in sap oozing from a cut.
That clot of sap is buried in the fossil ground—
Becomes a translucent stone that holds
a five-pointed star in amber.
Lost armies are buried in the orchard—they await
their resurrection. Recite their names five times—
as blind worms gnaw their marrow—
become the caterpillars marching on warm flesh—
become the dusty moths circling the light.
We bind our thoughts to hieroglyphs of word—
illusions that we create to trap
the attentions of our readers’ minds.
Letters on the chaliced skull (the ink is flame)
become the spellbird that I send to you.
The egret arches forward—bows itself into flight,
unfolds his wings above the reeds—
pale trespass on an evening shore.
His feathers are floating flower petals—
every wingbeat an eternity.
by Wulf Losee
Wulf Losee lives and works in the Bay Area. His poems and short stories have appeared in journals such as Crack the Spine, Forge, FRiGG, Full Moon, The New Guard, The North Coast Literary Review, Oak Square, OxMag, Pennsylvania English, Poetalk Magazine, Rio Grande Review, SLAB, and Westview. The two cats that allow Wulf to live with him are also his severest critics. Writing poetry detracts from play time, petting time, and from feeding them treats—and they regularly show their contempt for his muse by walking nimble-footed across his keyboard.