Skip to content →

Mirror Lecture

You’ve got a brain that travels fast, fine trait

for novel links and sonnets built to last.

How could the roadside poplars know the car

was heating up with stirrings of new love?

But soon a swaying graced an embarkation

with wild encouragement; some sooty clouds

observed one grouchy morning silvered when

the check came in the mail; you read one day

that subtle minds lead lives of allegory

and it was uphill after that—to mounds

of radiant significance, bright peaks

where awkward flailing limbs were suddenly

adorned in velvet sleeves. But down, girl, down:

the journey to this place is full of hazards

much more than occupational: enjoy

the naked fact, the roses at the base

of the enormous mesa. Pause, and look

at all the moment’s colors. Breathe, or else

the precious ladder and the swift alembics

will turn on you: your vision in the woods

will go to seed from all the bells and whistles

you’ve stapled to the tossing trees; too much,

too soon, he’ll cry; your nooses are not nice;

I’m wearing socks, not hiking boots, today;

the strawberries I brought for lunch are ripe

because of sun, not us; if little rooms

are everywheres, the air gets awfully musty—

at which dire words you cower and look frightened,

twirling your eternal golden braids.

from Silver RosesFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2010
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Poems Rachel Wetzsteon

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.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.