Dredging for Atlantis

Eileen Tabios

[1]

I forgot when memory became a colander with generous holes…. I forgot not remembering that trembling seacoast city…. I forgot baby priests turning away to cast profiles forsworn to Donatello…. I forgot the errors in pretty miscalculations — monotone transformed to moonstone…. I forgot the wind stuffing headless birds and spermatozoa into fragile craters of a lassoed moon…. I forgot a breakfast of rain…. I forgot minarets growing within muddy whirlpools…. I forgot those dolls — for a moment, their eyes had relaxed…. I forgot kohl telling stories without words…. I forgot a coffin’s succoring bed…. I forgot how down covered her thighs.

[2]

I forgot when memory became a colander with generous holes…. I forgot baby priests turning away to cast profiles forsworn to Donatello…. I forgot a poem writ on the milk bill…. I forgot minarets growing within muddy whirlpools…. I forgot those dolls — for a moment, their eyes had relaxed…. I forgot cabs waiting as brandy cherries decomposed in sealed jars…. I forgot a coffin’s succoring bed…. I forgot a noonday cannon scattering pigeons…. I forgot her hobby of attending to death beds — afterwards, she always lusted for hotel lobbies stuffed with crystal chandeliers.

[3]

I forgot the Carrara defiled until a nude woman emerged — her magnificent breasts paled against the blank gaze of her stone eyes…. I forgot to nurture salvation’s seedlings…. I forgot the errors in pretty miscalculations — monotone transformed to moonstone…. I forgot coaxing lullabys out of empty tin cans…. I forgot flabbergasted lions bred for locked jaws…. I forgot cabs waiting as brandy cherries decomposed in sealed jars…. I forgot a coffin’s succoring bed…. I forgot how down covered her thighs…. I forgot a noonday cannon scattering pigeons.

[4]

I forgot coaxing lullabys out of empty tin cans…. I forgot flabbergasted lions bred for locked jaws…. I forgot minarets growing within muddy whirlpools…. I forgot a lady in Florence, violets in her hair, who avoided sunlight…. I forgot virgins and children revealing their true nature by how they scratched themselves…. I forgot those dolls — for a moment, their eyes had relaxed…. I forgot kohl telling stories without words…. I forgot how down covered her thighs…. I forgot a noonday cannon scattering pigeons.

[5]

I forgot when memory became a colander with generous holes…. I forgot not remembering that trembling seacoast city…. I forgot the Carrara defiled until a nude woman emerged — her magnificent breasts paled against the blank gaze of her stone eyes…. I forgot baby priests turning away to cast profiles forsworn to Donatello…. I forgot he was the essence of licorice…. I forgot the errors in pretty miscalculations — monotone transformed to moonstone…. I forgot the wind stuffing headless birds and spermatozoa into fragile craters of a lassoed moon…. I forgot the sobs from an abandoned harem bringing down comets to accuse the alcove…. I forgot a breakfast of rain…. I forgot minarets growing within muddy whirlpools.

[6]

I forgot that piccola città replete with hyphens…. I forgot the Carrara defiled until a nude woman emerged — her magnificent breasts paled against the blank gaze of her stone eyes…. I forgot baby priests turning away to cast profiles forsworn to Donatello…. I forgot to nurture salvation’s seedlings…. I forgot coaxing lullabyes out of empty tin cans…. I forgot the sobs from an abandoned harem bringing down comets to accuse the alcove…. I forgot a breakfast of rain…. I forgot a poem writ on the milk bill…. I forgot virgins and children revealing their true nature by how they scratched themselves…. I forgot those dolls — for a moment, their eyes had relaxed…. I forgot a coffin’s succoring bed.

[7]

I forgot not remembering that trembling seacoast city…. I forgot the Carrara defiled until a nude woman emerged — her magnificent breasts paled against the blank gaze of her stone eyes…. I forgot to nurture salvation’s seedlings…. I forgot he was the essence of licorice…. I forgot the wind stuffing headless birds and spermatozoa into fragile craters of a lassoed moon…. I forgot a breakfast of rain…. I forgot virgins and children revealing their true nature by how they scratched themselves…. I forgot cabs waiting as brandy cherries decomposed in sealed jars…. I forgot a coffin’s succoring bed…. I forgot grey men fading as they fell to melt into grey stones.

[8]

I forgot not remembering that trembling seacoast city…. I forgot coaxing lullabys out of empty tin cans…. I forgot the wind stuffing headless birds and spermatozoa into fragile craters of a lassoed moon…. I forgot the sobs from an abandoned harem bringing down comets to accuse the alcove…. I forgot minarets growing within muddy whirlpools…. I forgot a lady in Florence, violets in her hair, who avoided sunlight…. I forgot kohl telling stories without words…. I forgot a coffin’s succoring bed.


From The Connoisseur of Alleys
Available from Marsh Hawk Press
Also available from Small Press Distribution

(Marsh Hawk Press, New York, 2016)

Eileen R. Tabios loves books and has released about forty collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in nine countries and cyberspace. Her most recent are The Connoisseur of Alleys (Marsh Hawk Press, 2016) and INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected Catalog Poems and New 1996–1915 (Dos Madres Press, 2015). With poems translated into eight languages, she also has edited, coedited or conceptualized ten anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays in addition to serving as editor or guest editor for various literary journals. She maintains a biblioliphic blog, Eileen Verbs Books; edits Galatea Resurrects, a popular poetry review; steers the literary and arts publisher Meritage Press; and frequently curates thematic online poetry projects including LinkedIn Poetry Recommendations (a recommended list of contemporary poetry books). More information is available at eileenrtabios.com.

Back cover painting by Advaita Patel
The Connoisseur of Alleys (Marsh Hawk, 2016)