Shadow and Light: The Transitory

Summer, 2004

Ioanna Warwick


From my window I watch
the magnolia glossy with morning,
its bulbs of blossoms

opening like white wings -
opening, bruising, and falling
so quickly that I feel

tempted to say the words
forbidden to us in the mortal state:
Stay, you are so beautiful.

If Faust pleaded like that,
he'd lose his restless soul.
That's why we prefer

only hints,
only fragments,
the calyx and corolla like veils -

and underneath, the glistening green
durance of leaves, as if to say,
how faithful we are to ourselves.

But we live for the blossoms,
the white tenderness,
the moist melody of the magnolia

leaning on the senses,
while the magnolia of memory
whispers moye, moye -

mine forever, that morning light
in the face of a man in love;
mine, those unwilting petals.