The Birth of Bluebeard
heaven angry as infection
over Bluebeard's nativity;
now crab grass, now nettle,
now rose struggling to bloom;
confusion like a pornographic film
snapping legs, lips, hair, eyes
ass and sex
against a silver reel.
This and a breeze
suggesting early frost.
said the storytellers, half-faced in firelight
pausing just enough
for the biographic pens to scratch.)
no death-yawn through headstones,
crematorium, clay field
at Bluebeard's crowning;
just a thrash of sheets,
the birthing scream like eagles,
slime and soil and shit—
yes, thick as sunset
salty, sour, a wave of sick.
Blood is the only constant.
(For so it goes
with births and funerals:
Coming in and out
female and male,
bride and villain
squall like torture
our distressful sigh.)
no falling star or planet
hurtled out of orbit.
beauty terrible as cold church bells
no horror lovely as a glimpse of bone.
Nothing that the stories say but this:
In a town named Once Upon-a-Time
the wife pressed down in screams and pain,
the midwife pulled
a mess of limbs and womb,
a bolt of blue hair out upon the world.
(It is then,
the poets all agree,
the babe who would be Bluebeard
cried for warm air like a kitten,
his eyes cornflower bright.
The biographer hesitates,
considers as the moon opens like a lily.
The locusts saw their violins,
the stars hang out like hooks.)
JoSelle Vanderhooft is the author of several poetry collections, including The Minotaur's Last Letter to His Mother (Ash Phoenix), Ossuary (Sam's Dot Publishing), Desert Songs (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2008), Tales Twice Told (Sam's Dot Publishing, 2008) and Death Masks (Papaveria Press, 2008), the novels The Tale of the Miller's Daughter (Papaveria Press) and Owl Skin (Papaveria Press, 2008) and a collection of short stories from Drollerie Press to be released in 2008. Her poetry and fiction has appeared online and in print in a number of publications, including Cabinet des Fees, Star*Line, Mythic Delirium, Mythic, Jabberwocky, The Seventh Quarry and several others.
copyright © 2008, JoSelle Vanderhooft