After the Famous Poet

Jun 01, 2003

Poetry of the Times

After the Famous Poet
recites a poem
that ends with "a purple stain,"
she recalls how she went to war
with another famous poet
about whether it is proper
to end a poem with a color.
And I envy the famous poet
for living in a world
where battles over colorful words
can feel like life and death.
For years ago I chose a world
where colorful words
like "green meconium stain"
or "peau d'orange"
describe deformity beyond metaphor,
a war where flesh is cut and colored
to let us read the body's text,
our precise choice of words
as brilliant and final
as the last line of any poem.

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