Blueaille



© 2011 Katherine Williams
"Blueaille" appears in
City of the Big Shoulders
University of Iowa Press (2012)
Ryan van Cleave, Ed.
Brilliant, how you lure cotingas into the shabby
seaside lodgings of your untraveled memory:
in their cages, fashion operettas of the mundane.

...libretti…bubble pipes…cat-bones…compasses...

of the life devoted to your invalid brother,
make a world of ten thousand exquisite things.
Be the Ulysses of the tethered ankle.

...ticket stubs…indigo silk…paper birds…telescope-lenses...

Let others found their dynasties, paint portraits
in lapis: yours will be the seeds
falling on the bluest peninsulas.

...French menus…oaken spheres…mouse fuzz…gyroscopes...

Let your grimy little street’s smoggy days
turn cerulean, and your moonless night’
wild auroras burn green and purple.

...lithographed children…mirrors…butterflies…piston rings...

Your room will be the most flat nook on the Seine,
your companions the physicists and ballerinas
of Europe, your conversations the most daring.

...balsa propellers…goblets…seashells…DC circuits...

When the future crowds around
your impeccably dilapidated steamer trunk,
blue light will emanate as it yawns open.

...glass actresses…Codd marbles…feathers…clock-springs...

We can almost hear the music box’s tiny marimba,
the pop and hiss of vinyl enshrining a tenor
in a cobalt enamel gramophone.

Blueaille, you called it.



(after The Joseph Cornell collection at the Art Institute of Chicago)