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Best Famous Laure-Anne Bosselaar Poems

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by Laure-Anne Bosselaar |


  I sold her bed for a song. 
A song of yearning like an orphan’s. 
Or the one knives carve into bread. 

 But the un-broken bread 
song too. For the song that rivers 
sing to the ferryman’s oars. With 

 that dread in it. 
For a threadbare tune: garroted, 
chest-choked, cheap. A sparrow’s, 

 beggar’s, a foghorn’s call. 
For the kind of song only morning 
can slap on love-stained sheets —

 that’s what I sold my mother’s 
bed for. The one she died in. Sold it
for a song.

by Laure-Anne Bosselaar |

Community Garden

  I watch the man bend over his patch,   
a fat gunny sack at his feet. He combs the earth 

 with his fingers, picks up pebbles around 
tiny heads of sorrel. Clouds bruise in, clog the sky, 

 the first fat drops pock-mark the dust. 
The man wipes his hands on his chest, 

 opens the sack, pulls out top halves 
of broken bottles, and plants them, firmly, 

 over each head of sorrel — tilting the necks
toward the rain. His back is drenched, so am I,

 his careful gestures clench my throat, 
wrench a hunger out of me I don't understand, 

 can't turn away from. The last plant
sheltered, the man straightens his back, 

 swings the sack over his shouler, looks 
at the sky, then at me and — as if to end 

 a conversation — says: I know they'd survive
 without the bottles, I know. He leaves the garden, 

 plods downhill, blurs away. I hear myself 
say it to no one: I never had a father.

by Laure-Anne Bosselaar |

Filthy Savior

  Look at this storm, the idiot,
pouring its heart out here, of all places,
an industrial suburb on a Sunday, 
soaking nothing but cinder-block
and parking lots,

 wasting its breath on smokeless 
smoke-stacks, not even a trash can 
to send rumbling through the streets.
And that lightning bolt, forking itself 
to death, to hit 

 nothing — what a waste. 
What if I hadn’t been here, lost too,
four in the morning, driving around
in a jean-shirt over my night-gown,
reciting Baudelaire aloud — 

 like an idiot ¬— unable to sleep, 
scared to death by my longing for it,
death, so early in the morning, driving 
until the longing runs on empty?
The windshield wipers can’t 

 keep up with this deluge,
and I almost run over it, a flapping
white thing in the middle of the street.
I step out, it’s a gull, one leg
caught in a red plastic net

 snared around its neck.
I throw my shirt over the shrieking thing,
take it back to the car, search my bag
for something, anything, find a nail file, 
start sawing at the net. 

 The gull is huge, filthy, it shits 
on my shirt, pecks at me — idiot, I’m trying 
to save you. I slip a sleeve over its head, 
hold it down with one hand, saw, cut, 
pull with the other, 

 free the leg, the neck, 
wrap the gull again, hold it against me, 
fighting for its life, its crazed heart
beats against mine. I put my package
on the hood, open the shirt, and 

 there it goes, letting the wind 
push it, suck it into a cloud; then it’s 
gone — like some vague, inhuman 
longing — as the rain lifts, and the suburbs 
 emerge in dirty white light.

by Laure-Anne Bosselaar |

The Worlds in this World

 Doors were left open in heaven again: 
drafts wheeze, clouds wrap their ripped pages 
around roofs and trees. Like wet flags, shutters 
flap and fold. Even light is blown out of town,
its last angles caught in sopped
newspaper wings and billowing plastic — 
all this in one American street. 
 Elsewhere, somewhere, a tide 
recedes, incense is lit, an infant 
sucks from a nipple, a grenade
shrieks, a man buys his first cane. 
 Think of it: the worlds in this world. 

 Yesterday, while a Chinese woman took 
hours to sew seven silk stitches into a tapestry 
started generations ago, guards took only
seconds to mop up a cannibal’s brain from the floor 
of a Wisconsin jail, while the man who bashed 
the killer’s head found no place to hide, 
and sat sobbing for his mother in a shower stall —
the worlds in this world. 

 Or say, one year — say 1916: 
while my grandfather, a prisoner of war 
in Holland, sewed perfect, eighteen-buttoned 
booties for his wife with the skin of a dead 
dog found in a trench; shrapnel slit 
Apollinaire's skull, Jesuits brandished 
crucifixes in Ouagadougou, and the Parthenon 
was already in ruins. 
 That year, thousands and thousands of Jews 
from the Holocaust were already — were 
still ¬— busy living their lives; 
while gnawed by self-doubt, Rilke couldn’t 

write a line for weeks inVienna’s Victorgasse, 
and fishermen drowned off Finnish coasts, 
and lovers kissed for the very first time,
while in Kashmir an old woman fell asleep, 
her cheek on her good husband's belly. 

 And all along that year the winds 
kept blowing as they do today, above oceans 
and steeples, and this one speck of dust 
was lifted from somewhere to land exactly 
here, on my desk, and will lift again — into 
the worlds in this world.

 Say now, at this instant: 
one thornless rose opens in a blue jar above 
that speck, but you — reading this — know 
nothing of how it came to flower here, and I 
nothing of who bred it, or where, nothing 
of my son and daughter’s fate, of what grows 
in your garden or behind the walls of your chest: 
is it longing? Fear? Will it matter?

Listen to that wind, listen to it ranting
 The doors of heaven never close,
  that’s the Curse, that’s the Miracle.

by Laure-Anne Bosselaar |

Dinner at the Who’s Who

  amidst swirling wine 
and flickers of silver guests quote 
Dante, Brecht, Kant and each other. 

 I wait in the hall after not 
powdering my nose, trying to re-
compose that woman who’ll 

 graciously take her place 
at the table and won’t tell her hosts:
I looked into your bedroom 

 and closets, smelled your 
“Obsession” and “Brut,” sat 
on your bed, imagined you 

 in those spotless sheets, looked 
long into the sad eyes of your son
staring at your walls from his frame.

 I tried to smile at myself 
in your mirrors, wondering if you 
smile that way too: those resilient 

 little smiles one smiles 
at one’s self before facing the day, 
or another long night ahead — 

 guests coming for dinner. 
So I wait in this hall because 
there are nights it’s hard 

 not to blurt out Stop! Stop 
our babble: Pulitzer, Wall Street, sex,
Dante, politics, wars, have some Chianti...

 let’s stop and talk. Of our thirsts 
and obsessions, our bedrooms 
and closets, the brutes in our mirrors, 

 the eyes of our sons. 
There is time yet — let’s talk. 
I am starving.

by Laure-Anne Bosselaar |

English Flavors

  I love to lick English the way I licked the hard 
round licorice sticks the Belgian nuns gave me for six
good conduct points on Sundays after mass. 

 Love it when ‘plethora’, ‘indolence’, ‘damask’, 
or my new word: ‘lasciviousness,’ stain my tongue, 
thicken my saliva, sweet as those sticks — black

 and slick with every lick it took to make daggers
out of them: sticky spikes I brandished straight up
to the ebony crucifix in the dorm, with the pride 

 of a child more often punished than praised. 
‘Amuck,’ ‘awkward,’ or ‘knuckles,’ have jaw-
breaker flavors; there’s honey in ‘hunter’s moon,’

 hot pepper in ‘hunk,’ and ‘mellifluous’ has aromas 
of almonds and milk . Those tastes of recompense 
still bitter-sweet today as I roll, bend and shape 

 English in my mouth, repeating its syllables 
like acts of contrition, then sticking out my new tongue —
flavored and sharp — to the ambiguities of meaning.