Five Views of the New History

James Bertolino

1. Her Arms
He was killed
in Saigon

but not before he found
her graceful yellow thighs

were the forearms
of our lord.

2. Her Garden

Her garden,
terraced
to several heights of color,
was a congregation
of flowers

each bearing witness
to one of her deaths.

They found her late
in the bleached hours,
her face the salmon-pink
of the drooping rose.

3. The Marriage

No longer willingly
imprisoned

by the hypnosis
of the real

she entered the garden
of opposition

to be the marriage
of the lamb.


4. Seventh Month

From deep in the crib her eyes
held him,
the long clear gaze
that said father, I've much to tell you,
but moment by moment my memory leaves
and I still haven't learned
to speak.


5. The Face

Each day the face
of the savior we seek

seems more Asian
in the imagination—

the skin color rich, cheekbones
high, the feminine eyes

slanted deliciously.

 

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