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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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REBECCA GIVENS ROLLAND

 

 

 

Rebecca Givens RollandRebecca Givens Rolland won the 2011 Dana Award in Short Fiction, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Witness, Kenyon Review, Cincinnati Review, Gettysburg Review, Georgia Review, Many Mountains Moving, Versal, American Letters & Commentary, and Meridian. My first book, The Wreck of Birds, won the 2011 May Sarton New Hampshire First Book Prize and was published by Bauhan Publishing.

 

 


 

 

 

Dream of Jaundice

 

 

1

Languishing under light-boxes, infant’s

forgotten to search for sun. Face fierce, near-

ecstatic, limbs infolded (an indifferent

 

x). Doll-bed corrals her—torso’s barreled

in elemental blue, cheeks tunneling

out of barbed-wire shade. Impeccable

 

machines whir (doctors’ bidding). A great

improvement—they check her heels’

tint—a yellowness, a glow? Hours of

 

unmoving shade. Monitors stutter, short—

count one breath. Flip the gold switch,

catch her ineloquent mutters: feed

 

pilgrims, water plants, be of use. Having

not had choices in the past. Eyelids

pressed with watery contraptions, cloths

 

of sweet silk. Survival burdens. Only

one month the worms live, flightless, leaves

hung in the pit of red mouths. Another

 

day, they’ll shift into cocoons, recognizing

the catacomb flickers they’d rather be.

 

 

2

Between cracked walls, I beg: wrestle

calm into its components, heal limbs, undo

drive for motionlessness. Illumination

 

never had the answers—gold-scrolled,

framed—yet blandishments entice, promise

cures. Newborn, she’s laid out, flatlined—

 

a passel rush in for the pulse—deceleration

doctors drop plans, hang heads. Fluorescent

flares. The decision: descend her overly

 

early. Devices muffle cries in waiting

rooms. Chattering lips, gauze-inflected

orders. The drug’s meant to help her mature—

 

torqued to floor, she swings, avoiding bruises.

Pain’s never deterred her, sericulture lost

after one missed feeding. Liquid silk, sericin,

 

hardens on air’s exposure, drops in a golden-

thread whorl. No way to lift nets and free

her. Panel of interventions, unopened hatch.

 

Has she flown off? Requested new disguises?

At times I watch, at times I wing through air—

 

 

©2016 Rebecca Givens Rolland

 

 

Author Links

 

Rebecca Givens Rolland homepage

'Colony': poem by Rebecca Givens Rolland in Carte Blanche

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