"Prima Donna"


A woman reaches a point in her life: she finds herself

on the porch with her feet up on a crate.

Tea roses bloom though she did not

tend them this year.  She stares

as if she is a stranger to this world.

She will not look for angels

floating up from morning grass.

A more exact science is enacted

before her:  ivy that seemed to have died

in winter's painful freeze climbs

the fence again.  A green spider

builds a net between the rails.

So many writers want this

to mean something.  Want everything

singing with significance:  the paint 

on the rail - that it is white, that it peels,

that flecks have landed in drifts at her feet.

But she no longer wants songs

filled with breath, with longing, 

floating off.  She forgets passion, 

thinks of the reliable bulbs underground

doing their silent work in darkness.

She no longer asks why so many seasons,

slack and bitter.  She does not consider 

winters gone by, nor those 

not yet invented.  Bright spikes

of thistle twitch in her yard.

A spark of light appears in the air

before her - iridescent wings

of a dragonfly.  It darts

close to the new web, snags it

like a random twig.  The dragonfly 

leaves.  The green spider

rebuilds her net between the rails.

The woman thinks:  This is the way of things.

And now, 

here is the wind. 

(first appeared in Poetry East) 


Kathleen Lynch writes poetry, fiction, and essays. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area where she serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Literary Arts at San Jose State University.


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