Mudlark No. 45 (2012)

Obsidian Butterfly

The redhead down the hall
who made a bird-in-air quilt
from her drowned infant’s gown
has a stack of books under her bed.
One says Aztecs called the vulture Obsidian Butterfly.
Another that the clowns of Europe 
painted their faces on eggs
and sent them by coach to the clown registry.


Dazed, they rise and go
down a staircase scalloped by their passage,
the last strong dream of the night 
closing one petal at a time.
The heart spins in a dark solution,
waiting to be born.
Lined up, staring at the floor,
flower heads strung along the curtain rod to dry.

Her Likeness

Before glass mirrors were invented in Venice
imperial women gazed into disks of polished bronze,  
which softened the flaws of circumstance and time,  
distilling the essence of the body’s guest. 
In sleep she travels back, before headlights 
careened along the walls at night.
Ring the hand and harness bells of old.
Strike with soft hammers the clapperless jade bells of grief.  

Stephen Knauth | Frederica >>
Contents | Mudlark No. 45 (2012)