Plus Ultra

In the stained glass factory, the glazier pinned the violet upon the crucible
with purple and gold, set upon the metal frame.
She dabs molten glass into the lapis lazuli not by choice but necessity,
as hotness melts the ultramarine, the plus ultra.

The sea of the sky beacons, broken by the rising sun.
The great-granddaughter of the glazier does not remember the waves
of the Hudson River, only the echoes of failed pronouncements at Ellis Island
reverberating years later, as she frames the drone frequenting the low skyline.

In the intimacy of disparate parts, the girl whispers into the ears
of the passerby, fractals of true artistry which went beyond the intensity
thought possible in photographs, as centuries pass upon the metamorphic
bedrock filled with towers of Babel made of glass and steel.

The lore of fables which once bound rapt audiences now long forgotten:
on the New York City subway, the girl studies photos of sights she beheld,
the smell of unwashed bodies and marijuana in refashioned vintage 7 trains.
She thinks of how she is the last of her tribe.

Memories of her lineage hug her legs like cold air when the train door opens,
fickle like the red twin trees in her night lamp, or memories
of downing defrosted frozen fruits, its sugar already gone.
In a lab of molten glass, her fingers burn like Prometheus.

Gatsby’s junkyard once shown proud with the Unisphere
now a swamp for Canada geese and mallard ducks.
The girl walks, as steam rises to occlude sight
with fog the color of mist in the grass.

At home, the girl recounted the sun in its octagonal beauty,
the life beneath the stillness of the turquoise green pond.
Mama laughs before turning down the lights and kissing the girl
on her head of hair, wishing her a kaleidoscope of sweet dreams.


Tiffany Troy is the author of Dominus (forthcoming, BlazeVox) and the chapbook When Ilium Burns (Bottlecap Press), as well as co-translator of Santiago Acosta’s The Coming Desert /El próximo desierto (forthcoming, Alliteration Publishing House), in collaboration with Acosta and the Women in Translation project at the University of Wisconsin. Her reviews and interviews of emerging and established voices are published or forthcoming in The Adroit JournalThe Cortland ReviewThe Los Angeles ReviewThe Laurel Review, EcoTheo ReviewRain Taxi, New World Writing, Hong Kong Review of Books and Tupelo Quarterly, where she is Managing Editor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s