Wind and Wuthering © 2006 Michael Warbler Finucane

Elfin Song

by Rachel Swirsky

in our music
you hear the smell
of evening jasmine
heat waver horizons
fire flares,
hidden faces
eyes sleek like cats

but music
can't smell of jasmine
without minds that dwell
forever on borders.
our music
is contradiction:
we are immortal
but playing in time.

music's a creature
of death and arpeggio
successions of sounds
struck into silence.
music's your creature
you tame it, create it:
your drums
mimic heartbeats,
your pulses
dance rhythms,
your song cycles trace
gilded mornings in major
to dissonant chords
of dim mesto dreams.

yet it's our imitations
that whisper seductions
sweet inescapable
into your toes,
our brash recreations
that beseech your sinew
to stretch out and seek
skin spiral sighs.

you think you love
our melodies, meters,
exotic and swift
fluid and strange,

but really you yearn
to hear your image
transposed by our longing
to joyful cadenzas,
to watch yourselves scaling
rough ronde refrains
the ephemeral audible
in admiring song.

Rachel Swirsky is a Master's of Fine Arts student at the Iowa Writers Workshop, where she studies fiction. Her poetry has appeared in Mothering Magazine, Abyss & Apex, and Sybil's Garage, among other magazines. She blogs about feminist issues and writing at the Aqueduct Press blog Ambling Along the Aqueduct, and the popular feminist site Alas, a Blog. Read more about her work at her website.

When Rachel hears the word "cherry," she thinks of a poem that doesn't mention cherries directly. The poem is by Santa Cruz poet Gary Young, and is called "The fruit trees bloom." She highly recommends Gary Young's work, and offers up this link to his currently available collection.

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