poetry, writing
Rita Dove was named Poet Laureate of the United States in 1993 when she was just forty years old. By then, though, she had written a few novels and several collections of poetry, including Thomas and Beulah (1986), which won the Pulitzer Prize.
The poem below is not an example of how Dove confronts complex historical issues in her work, brings them home and makes them personal. Rather, it is a light piece, a flirtation. But, it’s summer now, officially, and school’s out. So I thought we all deserved a little fun.
After all, there’s no need
to say anything


at first. An orange, peeled
and quartered, flares


like a tulip on a wedgewood plate
Anything can happen.


Outside the sun
has rolled up her rugs


and night strewn salt
across the sky. My heart


is humming a tune
I haven’t heard in years!


Quiet’s cool flesh—
let’s sniff and eat it.


There are ways
to make of the moment


a topiary
so the pleasure’s in


walking through.
Photo credit: “The Flirtation” by Adolf Alexander Dillens

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