sporklet 16
Lise Goett

Every year, at this time of year,
the Mythic Children’s Theater Wonder Float appears,
in a one-street parade wending past the mercantile
with its carousel of birdseye-maple pipes, eau de Jean Nate,
and rack of beebee guns, behind the VFW’s khaki brigade
withering in the noon-day heat, and a convoy of Gullwings, Tin Lizzies,
Cadillacs and Skylarks, cars that go up and down on double-helix hoists


past the derelict bar still boarded up like a one-eyed dog
with its face-socket garishly agape. (It’s where you might have worked
had you been born into a different life. Born into a different life,
to different parents, you might have toiled in the dark.
That gape that haunts you, that missing eye: the corridor
where the man with dirty hands almost groped you.)


Your gaze is conscripted now by an eight-year-old nereid
flanked by a pair of nubile satyrs.
She is luminous in her visitation, anchoring her stillness in the sun.
Maven of the dead, summer’s retinue calls you:
Early Girls, Better Boys, Sweet 100s, dryads and nymphs
braceleted with hex beads.


Have you forgotten, in this desert at eight-thousand feet,
in winter’s moil, the farmers’ markets and a farm-boy’s kiss,
sea mandalas or the way the light strikes the breaking wave,
the breaking light of you, this season gold-fleeced
like that fabled winged ram sired by Poseidon, born of Helios.


Child of Cassandra, how will you come attired
to life’s mythic ball, dressed as summer or the sea,
a field of lavender or stark winter in her frozen sleeve?


The wave thins to sheer mirror:
eight-year-olds on half shells rising from vaporous mesh,
the myth of regeneration rising from cardboard construction. 


In this vortex of the wave spun
of ether, air, blue light,
you, yourself, become spindrift and peak
transparent as these spirits of the sea

awash with phosphorescent luminosity.

Lise Goett is the recipient of the 2020 Palette Spotlight Award for her poem ‘The Bookman.’ Her second book, Leprosarium (Tupelo, 2018), was a selection in the July 2015 Open Reading Period of Tupelo Press and the 2012 winner of the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award in Poetry from the Poetry Society of America for best manuscript-in-progress. Her other awards include The Paris Review Discovery Award, The Pen Southwest Book Award in Poetry, the Capricorn Prize from the West Side Y, the James D. Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation, and The Barnard New Women Poets Prize for her first poetry collection, Waiting for the Paraclete (Beacon, 2002).