Rita Dove


That smokestack, for instance,
in the vacant lot across the street:
if she could order it down and watch
it float in lapse-time over buckled tar and macadam
it would stop an inch or two perhaps
before her patent leather shoes.

Her body’s no longer tender, but her mind is free.
She can think up a twilight, sulfur
flicking orange then black
as the tip of a flamingo’s wing, the white
picket fence marching up the hill…

but she would never create such puny stars.
The house, shut up like a pocket watch,
those tight hearts breathing inside —
she could never invent them.