you are in the diode archives fall 2010




Because the dress was worn. 
Or wasn’t. 

A blue of forgetting. 
A blue dress I might fold
in a basket and carry to the meadow.

The weathervane cannot tell me
if it will snow. 

The blue isn’t
mine, but I wear it. Through

frost and foolishness,
a field of mourning,

a Sunday morning when I awoke
to learn she was
no longer.  Blue

dress of basket. Blue dress
of memory, hospital parking lot,
missing bead in my bracelet.

Because I was worn,
I slept in the car, maybe

the blue dress was a blanket, maybe
a pillow. I am a hollow-boned

bird in the meadow, blue wings
of my dress. Maybe a god of blue,
a lullaby of willow.

I run from myself, remove everything,
everything I can from my skin.

I raise the dress over my head
and it becomes my sky.



Violin sleep
            in the back of closets
next to a rack of wide ties
and rust-colored clogs.

            at night you
can hear their strings


Zina’s Hookah Lounge

            I wonder if I've been changed in the night?
                        Alice from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

In the corner booth, a belly dancer
eats baklava while old men play cards.
Smoke drifts through the room.

We sample dolmas, baba ghanoush
at a table that wobbles
when we lift our chai. 

Hummus mingles with tabouli. 
Parsley escapes from the plate. 
The men next to us smoke, keep smoking 

as a woman stops to ask them,
What's inside your bong?
When a man answers, Pleasure

she sits down, puts on her lipstick 
in the reflection on the hookah. 

It’s last call and you buy us passion
fruit martinis, say,
Before we go, let’s try a drink.

Smoke circles and a hazy calligraphy
fills us like the caterpillar
atop the mushroom—who are you?

Some nights we aren’t sure
what brings us comfort,
but we take it all in—

belly dancer, baklava, chai.
We are not rich, but full
of spices, honey cake, and tea.  


Kelli Russell Agodon is the winner of the 2009 White Pine Press Poetry Prize judged by Carl Dennis.  Her poetry collection, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, was published by White Pine Press in October 2010. She is also author of Small Knots (2004) and Geography, winner of the 2003 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award.  Currently, she lives in the Northwest with her family and is the co-editor of the literary journal, Crab Creek Review.