Swarm

Sarah Kennedy Click to read more...

Sarah Kennedy is the author of the novels Self-Portrait, with Ghost and The Altarpiece, City of Ladies, and The King’s Sisters, Books in The Cross and the Crown series, set in Tudor England.  She has also published seven books of poems.  A professor of English at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, Kennedy holds a PhD in Renaissance Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing.  She has received grants from both the NEA, the NEH, and the VA Commission for the Arts.  Please visit Sarah at her website:  http://sarahkennedybooks.com

Halo of insane tongues, mortifying
mantle, sanguine pearl on a fingertip,
God Almighty’s Cow: very unlucky
to kill.  A children’s verse once told us so— 

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
but that was before they invaded by
the thousands (or rose from their native soil).
Furred windows, the crunch on the basement floor,

the crimson glass of them, bullet into
the lightbulb, boat of a body floating
in the evening wine, wafting in the waves
made by the vain scoops of my silver spoon.

My enemy, my enemy, I was
in a habit: to hold you in my palm,
to say a prayer, then to push you aloft,
the veins of your inner wings visible

in the sun, to seek my heart—call my true
love from the faithless town.  But I vacuum
up hundreds of you now, millions, alive
or not, I don’t discriminate, even

though, as I pull the cork on another
bottle and the year deepens to the dead
season (oaks brandishing their leaves, poison
ivy bright as any artery) you

coffin my door, bloody my sills, and I
hear you rattling (or is that the news turned
to low?), red cells pumping, little army
in a lightless chamber, restless as sin.

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