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Dream of a Large Lady

The large lady laboriously climbs

       down the ladder from a gun emplacement.

She had gone up to contemplate

       the blue view

           and to damage the gun.

She has done neither

       for the view was a baize haze

and the rooted gun immovable in stone.

       So she climbs down the shaky ladder

           with a few rungs missing

carrying her mostly uneaten

           picnic lunch

of which she has consumed a single

       hard-boiled egg

           leaving the shell

not as litter but as symbolism

       on the sullen gun

           in its grey rotunda.

At the foot of the ladder she finds sand;

       and one brown, shuttered house

from which another lady


This one wears a blurry face

       and an orange dress

matching her orange hair

           in a bun.

The large lady perforates along the beach

       on her high-heeled pumps

           by the water’s verge,

as a large, pale water-bird might do.

       When she reaches her own cottage

           near the bay,

she finds a letter from the strange orange lady

       in its crisp white envelope

           lying on the table:

“I am an admirer of your poesy,

       so I am baking you a fresh peach pie,”

           the nice note reads.

“Do come to my house near the bay,”

       she speaks in her head,

           “Orange lady who admires my poesy.”

“We will sit here quietly, in twlilght,

       and drink a cup of carefully brewed tea.”

With a sigh, she puts aside the memory

       of the grey gun she could only decorate

           but not destroy.

Though clear in her eye she holds a vision;

       the thin, ceremonious shell

           of her eaten egg

painted by the sun against the sky.

from YinFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 1984
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Carolyn Kizer Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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