The Banner of Your Body

06-10 Dallas
Gilberte H. Dallas
1918 – 1960


The banner of your body floats in the Brandenburg wind.
An old woman wants to come in, I
can see her through the door, her red felt hand
pressing in vain on the latch, scraps
of her cries come at me like the barbaric
song of a violin mending the night;
I’m going to slip a rose under the door
a black-blooded rose, maybe she’ll go away?
And I could wallow in the bramble hammock
but her voice hiccups: Ophelia
My name is Ophelia, open the door, O-phe-lia…
—What do I care about her grotesque distortions
What lie will she bring me? Why
doesn’t she extend it to me through the sheets
of sand the way she extends her name… Ophelia
Ophelia, her shadow ricochets in the aura
of my dusk. Ophelia, her voice grates
like a leper’s rattle, philia, figlia…

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