Mise En Scène

Gardens ago, overrun as they were then
with creatures dangling among limbs’
fruits & weathering leaves, a feather boa
swooned in love with an elephant’s
elegant trunk. The two of them singsang.
A scrim of rain passed, twinkling the trees.

Throbbing lightly strangleheld, each one’s
muscle wound the other’s workaday knot.
Night prospered overhead & throughout
plump heaven the constellations
hummed in their struts, twangling fresh
foam toppling the oceans below: slid off, gushed up.

I’m bit-cast now in the clown troupe, ostriches at hopscotch.
We flounce & skip stricken cities’ empty grids,
towers’ ruins’ & tipsy scaffolds’ shadows’
diamondback-&-giraffish reticulations hung
in curtains of dust: dress-rehearsing this latest
great extinction’s brute obstinate opera.


Martha Zweig’s work has received Hopwood and Whiting awards. Her collections include Monkey Lightning, Tupelo Press, 2010; What Kind (2003) and Vinegar Bone (1999), both Wesleyan University Press, and Powers, Vermont Arts Council, 1976. Get Lost, 2014 Rousseau Prize winner, is forthcoming from The National Poetry Review Press.

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