Patrice Boyer Claeys


In that stillness
beneath the rough
autumnal fungi
smell like masks
         bone dust

Smooth as rocks in a brook
they dip their heads, hold
         their light deep in shadows
like miniature
         gathering constellations
                             or saints

and drenched in mystery.

Cento Sources: TOGE Sankichi, Barbara Jane Reyes, Lord Byron, Alice Notley, Christopher Pressfield, Oliver Baez Bendorf, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Daniela Gioseffi, Mark Underlich, Patricia Hooper, Richard Kenney, J. B. Goodenough, David Bottoms, Ed Roberson, D. H. Lawrence

Red Beets

Hard, heavy, slow, dark
                    small—whole planets

Blood red
          remaining in the dark, growing in facets
so solid, and with such security.
                                     Are they
a wonderful thing to be seen
          the sweet meat of happiness?

Not so.

Beauty eludes them. Usually they soak
                    the silence
in the cold kingdom

          till they bleed

in my mouth.

Cento Sources: James K. Baxter, Kaveh Akvar, Cedar Sigo, Xiaoly Li, William Meredith, Kiki Petrosino, Lawson Fusao Inada, Lewis Carroll, Tomas Q. Morin, James P. Young. Evie Shockley, Timothy Liu, Mona Van Duyn, Elfriede Jelinek, Emily Perez

Patrice Boyer Claeys authored Lovely Daughter of the Shattering, The Machinery of Grace and Honey from the Sun (with Gail Goepfert). This Hard Business of Living (with Goepfert) is due from Seven Kitchens Press. Forthcoming work in Adirondack Review and Dodging the Rain. She lives and cooks in Chicago.

Image from page 22 of “Wholesale catalogue for the season of 1900”

Next poem

Previous poem

Fall 2021