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Elizabeth Esris

June 2009

At The Abbey

In a tide of lavender
arms dappled by sun and stem
vie with black bees for nectar.
The stone wall of the abbey
is weary of the artist’s brush and
bleach of lenses.
It breathes them away
with memory of silent skies and
novices on dusty roads.

Women appear on the tiled roof|
with gauze skirts draped
between their thighs.
They bathe in the June sun,
listen to the steps of monks
inching toward prayer,
and whisper to them
with attar from the blooms.

I join them in their hopeless vigil,
my arms hungry
for the heat of summer prayer.
They know me from
a dozen other churches.
We have stalked robed ghosts before,
seducing ourselves with chants
of hooded profiles
who share lavender with
black bees 
in a quiet coupling
of earth and the divine.




French Knot

Pear blossoms tight against the shaft
quicken in an April chill.
In the cleft of bark and bloom
I see the pearl comb in my mother’s hair.

A French knot winds to her neck,
auburn tide bound by the dresser’s hand.
Each pin prescribed,
each cusp moored,
he shapes a pillar, incising lines
like a blower etching glass.

She watches his eyes and hands
conjure the awakening.
Her eyes strike the mirror
and invoke a bloom.

He lifts the pearls and they become the knot:
for a moment the portrait speaks.
In the delicate journey from lips to eyes,
she claims beauty, silent and ferocious. 

Pear blossoms cleave in spring,
a momentary blind against the sky,
then roll like pearls across the road
in the late April wind.

Musing on Branches of an Almond Tree in Blossom by Vincent Van Gogh

Blossoms of the almond tree
seamed to the rawboned dancer’s legs,
wed to the fray like Geishas,
to antic fingers that grope the sky.
Pained beauty dressed for wind and insects
much like our friendship:
queer ceremony of blush and decay.

Elizabeth Esris worked as the librettist with composer Sergio Cervetti on Elegy For A Prince which was premiered in excerpts at New York City Operas VOX Opera Showcase in 2007.  She and Cervetti recently completed a one act chamber opera, YUM! and they are working on a musical theater piece, Abby's Song, whose main character has Aspergers Syndrome. Esris teaches English and creative writing in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Her poetry has appeared in Wild River Review, Bucks County Writer, and it is heard in local readings.  She is a runner-up in the 2008 Bucks County Poet Laureate Competition.

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