Sherron Norlen (BA, Portland State U) is a retired teacher. Her work has appeared in Callapooya Collage, Calyx, Hubbub, Kestrel, Willow Springs, and elsewhere. Her first collection is Entomologist's Dreambook (Protean Press, 1998).
Souffieur de Verre
for Dale Chihuly
One day to make glass, one to blow. The souffieur twirls
a blowing-iron sets the glob, fires it orange. He spits air
into a pale green tumbler, clappers, trims,
sets it to cool, and I'm thinking
of Chihuly's furnace eye,
furnaces big as this workshop, armatures and cranes,
glass baskets loosening under their own weight.
A flying gaffer's chair exports Chihuly
to rare earth's.
Lismore Castle. Ghosts clamor in the garden, glazed
ectoplasm held by duplicate, staggered yews,
arbors limb-linked with a glassine holy spirit
while the chapel dangles
glass lights, and pink breasts
balloon to crowds in the dungeon. The maestro hears a baby
gurgle at the nipple.
Far away, melon gourds amber as kumquats
in sun fill the Fish House on a bank of a dull stream
lit by turquoise belugas chased down by the master's Finnish
mates who row
a river that flows both ways. The fat belugas
strike each other and, choosing which way to run with it, chime
for Chihuly. Artisans lift slick, obsidian seal pups
to the river's one high rock, throw them in again and again,
odor of fetid roe rising on the splash.
Downstream or up,
they loose ruby-throated water snakes, neodymiurn, and stroke
vermilion spears staked among cattails, red glass reeds
upright in an unreadable pane of river. The tube is strong
shape, Chihuly intones.
Waterford. Lucent in his spider-spun
cocoon, threading glass bones, he lifts on Haydn's strings to join
a conflagration—seraphim caught
in blue crossfire shafts
that stream from a ripped-out wall, full-drawn
from his empty, crowded, one-eyed mind gone to the capital
of glass, gone to hang Venetian chandeliers
along the Grand Canal.
Jacob's Sheep, Montana
Jupiter, my beautiful boy, you
are the sweet dream of a satanist, cloven
hooves precarious on the fence rail, celestial
hopes ablaze in yellow eyes, in the black
cat-eyed slits of pupil turned level. Four
colonic horns: two rise straight
from your brow and two curl
horny cheek-grazing spits. Look
in the mirror, trapped god. Savour the lost,
dark promise in your face, in the mango-
sized glands swaying in their kidskin sack.
No more lo's, no more virgins sacrificed
to your lust in the midnight forest. The Mother
of Truth has locked in your last disguise
and corralled you here behind white-washed
boards and pink hollyhocks. You moan and butt
the post, your little dangler gentled now. Done
with ravaging you long only for a soft touch,
benign, tough and from the heart.