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Even the thin tube of Spanish saffron
Sitting on the spice rack above the butcher block
Cooking table seems to glow with its worth
Of at least one's weight in gold & today
At the beach a dozen Buddhist monks in golden
Robes stepped out of three limousines
To walk their Holy One out along the dunes

To the water's flayed edge where the sand burned
With a light one could only call in its reddish
Mustard radiance the essence of saffron
& what I remember most of the scene as
The Holy One knelt down to touch those waves
Was his sudden laughter & his joy & that
Billowing burnt lemon light opening across the sky


* * *


Circumstance means everything when
Night begins to creep closer to the bed
& silence is the worst lover not to

Mention the most wasteful so she sat

At her dresser naked from the waist
Up & held out first her left hand then
Her right each with a slow consideration

As if she were watching five moons rise

Now from the East & now the West
Each pale oval lacquered a nervous blue
The same neon pulse as certain tropical fish

In the clear shallows of the Caribbean where
Certainly she would one day be living in her next
& more deeply gracious life


* * *


Imagine the sky compressed within

The clenched earth


The pressure composed by deep fire

At the core of


The ether of transcendence surrounding

Us until the knuckles & nuggets


Spit high into the air

A smoldering blessing


Of the involuted skies as if even

The light above the sea had folded 


Back onto itself so many times

This petrified mirror of stone we carry


Becomes a bible      blue

Darkening from beauty into night

David St. John's most recent collections are: The Red Leaves of the Night (HarperCollins, 1999) and In the Pines: Lost Poems, 1972-1997 (White Pine). The poems published here are from a forthcoming collection entitled Prism.

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The Blue Moon Review/Blue Penny Quarterly, ISSN 1079-042x
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