© 2017 by Elena Lelia Radulescu - All rights reserved. Design support: gmelloart.com

ELENA LELIA RADULESCU

 

GRIEF

 

Five days after my mother's death

I found her cat

stiff, cold, perched high on firewood,

a grayish, furry bark

no tree would claim.

 

Oh, what can I say of sights

that magnify the loss?

Of tears folding twice the grief?

 

One death begets another death

like falling leaves descending

steep and narrow stairs of wind

one at a time

one at a time

as if Earth's Gravity and Death were sisters,

twin sisters calling from below.

ELENA LELIA RADULESCU

 

DIALOGUES AT THE BREAK OF WINTER

 

Some days

the words I claim as mine

bear marks of other lips:

a ring of breath still floats above

an open vowel.

At night

I hear the plea of splinters trapped

into a rib of woolen sock.

 

“My love,” you say, “it’s just a shiver,

just a ripple through the heart of wood

when dreams of fire rest their wings

on our roof.”

 

From room to room

a flame of fingers flickers,

but when I turn to look, to touch,

I face the evening at the purple hour.

 

“My love,” I say, “who left the door ajar?”

 

Outside,

a tattered twig of apple tree

will tap the answer on the window:

“No one, no one, no one…”

ELENA LELIA RADULESCU

PASSAGE

I do not question as you do

the yellow iris

which trembles and unfurls its buds

on sunny edges of the pond

as if beauty answers only

to the light.

I do not name the reed,

graceful mallard,

nor common sage,

by Latin words of order.

The world is given as it is:

the sky above,

a hungry herd of clouds at pasture

down on mirrored lake,

a field of clover, aster, and wild mint

tightly woven into song by bees,

and we,

amidst the wealth of meadow land,

two passers-by

so different and yet,

so much alike while crossing

the earthly summer.

ELENA LELIA RADULESCU

STILL LIFE WITH BLUEBERRIES

You thought it would be easy

to yoke one image to another

since summer days

were bursting at the seam with light;

so close to you

the porch, the table,

wild daisies in a pewter jug,

blueberry beads adrift in milk

spilt into a murky estuary,

an oaken knot embedded in the plank

--God's eye observing from below

or just a wooden scar exposed to sun?

 

You yearned

to claim all these your own,

a beauty harnessed by a gifted hand,

but always a wisp of being,

fast, skittish, pale, and shallow

escapes untamed, untouched

like future summers.

ELENA LELIA RADULESCU

NIHIL SINE DEUS

For years I’d thought

that he was praying to a Lilliputian God

clad in a silky tuberous alb,

while cleaning potatoes for winter

Father gently murmured

“Nihil sine Deus.”  

 

Only after reading Horace, Ovid and Virgil,

did I learn from their silence

that Father had used Latin

as one might use a plain tool,

a lever to raise from ashes the

carcasses of wishes burnt way back.

 

Now, as I walk to the edge of the meadow,

icy winds scribbling on my face,

I conjure the image of Father

as he sat by the door to the cellar --

thin, hunched over crates of potatoes,

a god in transit to the underworld.

ELENA LELIA RADULESCU

IN THE SUMMER

scrape the skin of any day

and you will find a boy

running late for supper,

the lake still tucked

in a corner of his eye,

sounds of splashing water

still gasping for air

in the heart of a rock

deep in his pocket.

ELENA LELIA RADULESCU

THE MESSENGER

When the stranger arrived,

Mother made believe she didn't hear

his cloak's rustling outside,

the bony knocking at her door,

and she went on with her knitting,

faster and faster,

as if the needles in her hands

were silver swords.

At night,

the odd one melted into

a pool of shadows by the door

and seeped inside as poisoned mist.

Lost in her dreams, again a child,

barefoot in fields of blazing poppies,

she didn't hear, she didn't feel

the frosty breathing on her pillow.

At Dawn,

the dark one crawled, cleaved

and nested in the mirror.

In the morning light of June

she pulled her hair up in a coil,

saw the other pair of eyes,

burning from behind the glass,

an echo to her own.

ELENA LELIA RADULESCU

BIRD by BIRD

On cracked flagstones

a sparrow plays

a hopscotch game,

then,

       deftly,

                 lightly,

                            drinks

the exclamation points

dropped by the rain.

                   ***

A silver knife in motion,

the heron tears

the silky skin of water

and lifts its prey.

The fish,

a glinting comma

between its life and death,

        flips

               and

      curves

in the heron's beak.

Up in the air,

killing is easily concealed

by the majestic beauty

of snowy wings.

             ***

In the language of winter,

the cardinal is merely

an epithet of summer gone.

ELENA LELIA RADULESCU

HUNGER

If you drop a knife

on the kitchen floor,

a tall, lean man

with an impish grin

on his lips,

will join you for dinner.

If you loose grip of a spoon,

and let it fall

to you feet,

like a spoke

from a broken wheel,

a lady will knock on your door

at the sweet hour

of pie and mint tea.

But,

if your hands are steady

and nothing slips

through your fingers,

you will eat alone

craving the chimes, the tunes

of silverware.