Poems, Vol. 29, No. 3

Maureen Mulhern

 

Nature’s Mathematics

Elements, the smell of minerals
Rinsing the sky,
Crickets beginning their green monotony,
An abducted child pressing nails into skin—

Familiar landscapes unravel the ardor
Of change, sunflowers weighed down by heat,
Hothouse orchids opening
In their dreamy lack of speech.

Here, autumn arrives with temporal design
As others deliver a world
Where each occasion
Algebraically ordains the next.

 


 

Worn Smooth

The landscape in the martyr’s eye
Liquefies to gold,
Simmering the edge of sight;
And the velvet of the martyr’s mouth
Is gorged with sacrifice.

Here, the sun dissolves
Past olive trees
And dusty trails worn smooth
By the hungry curious
Who follow the scent of change.

In this setting, the heart spills out
From a steady machinery,
The first geometry
Where known and unknown coincide.

 


 

Science Lab

Along moss-colored corridors
Through which imagined night birds fly,
I watch my watch as I pause
At the third floor
Where pregnant sheep bleat
And the smell of hay seeps into the elevator.

Q-fever, toluene, biochemical hazards
Stick to the rubber gloves of the smiling girl
Who presses the “down” button.

Humming from the incandescent
Lights slides a few syllables
Toward me at the copier.
Reduce, enlarge, double side,
I play with the machine a little
And listen to the crisp popping of a staple gun.

Soon my dreams will appear nearby.
In a luscious haze of never-neverness,
They bathe in the liquid of which I’m made.

 

Maureen Mulhern

Maureen Mulhern has had poems appear in Crab Orchard Review, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner. Her first book of poetry, Parallax, was published by Wesleyan University Press. She has an undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College, and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop. Originally from England, Mulhern later became a naturalized U.S. citizen. She and her husband have one son, seven cats, and are the founders of an independent jazz record label, Juniper Records.


  Nature’s Mathematics Elements, the smell of minerals Rinsing the sky, Crickets beginning their green monotony, An abducted child pressing nails into skin— Familiar landscapes unravel the ardor Of change, sunflowers weighed down by heat, Hothouse orchids opening In their dreamy lack of speech. Here, autumn arrives with temporal design As others deliver a world …

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