Too late for last week’s Poetry Friday Gift List, we’ve just learned about a new collection from WVFC stalwart Millicent Borges Accardi, Injuring Eternity. The poet sent us a few sample poems from the collection, and let us know that the book is even available right now as a Barnes and Noble Online Holiday Special ( $11.74, list price  $14.95). A great last-minute Christmas gift for any literary friends, yourself included.

Mourning Doves

Have such soulful
Eyes, their gray suit
Of feathers blurs and sinks
Them into the background
Like a creature in hiding.
They hover below the wild
Bird feeder set up for finches
And harvest the shells, the thistle
Seed casings and what drops after
The finches and faux robins and phoebes
Have feasted. The mourning
Doves huddle and nest in the mountains
Of seed shells and dirt and make circles
With their small bird bodies turning
Into the ground digging a place around
Them as if they were under a shrub with only
The black drops of ink from their tail feathers
Visible. In a group, they lie in wait, their dear gray
Eyes gloomy and sullen and innocent and they want
What the world desires, to be fed and comfortable
And consummated and happy.

Devotion to the Breath

I love you shallow.
I love you deep.
I love you in three parts and when you come in like a lion
And leave like ice.

Clear and lucid as a thought,
And unfelt in the night and tightened
When I am nervous or frightened.

But you always are there
For me; in junior high, my lungs
Ached with the growth of adolescence
So painful the tissues rapidly growing in my body,
Three inches in height one year played havoc
On my chest.

I take you in as new and shiny and promisey,
And full of dope, and I let you go and ease
Out of all the old and ancient and dusty:
Long kept rooms full of fears and relatives
I do not know any more, the mustiness of old
Dreams lost before they were even a thought.
Mornings, you come in thick and heavy
And close to my skin, so heavy that coughs
And grumbles are necessary to bring you up and over
And through my various allergies that have
Followed me through bed, cuddling my brain
And looking for a safe home when I was unaware.

Evenings you are quiet and sit still for the air
As it comes over my throat and whispers to me,
“Later, lover, later.”

Without you I would not press through
Versions and divisions and passageways.
Breath, without you I would not be able to fly or
To swim in the world of language and gauge
The value of love and forgiveness.
I am dumb and easy and always here for you.
All my words are written between your punctuation.

Somewhere Ahead a Man is Waiting

He wants to see you
But not to talk. He has other
Things on his mind: maybe mystery,
Maybe evil. There is a road
And a broken phone and the shell
Of an Enco gas station that closed
30 years ago.  This man thinks
He knows what is best. This man
Imagines himself stronger than you
Are, with your lost face and open map
Of a mouth. He knows that the signs
Are all there but twisted like dead
Birds in a storm or a young American
Girl who knots her pony tail and then
Nibbles on the end. At the dusky
Café, this man is standing by himself
Having given up the right to ordinary
Talk with others long ago. He knows
What he wants now. He looks at his
Shoes. There is a song called by
Her name he used to know
Before he was alone. The bird
Of paradise only blooms when its roots
Are crowded. He steps forward.

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  • janet December 3, 2015 at 4:25 am

    Loved the poems.. have a great week!

  • Joan Hanna December 20, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Thanks for sharing these new poems! As always Millicent reaches way down and gives us wonderful lines filled with beauty and grace. I am so looking forward to Millicent’s new collection!

  • Paulette Rapp December 19, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Even the titles of Millicent’s poems conjure up poetic visions. She’s the real deal!

  • David A. Flagel, M.D. December 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    What a fantastic poet! Once again, Millicent so effectively uses words to eloquently paint a vivid picture of emotion. As a reader of novels, rather than poetry, the work by this artist affects me and she has my full attention. I will look for more from Millicent. keep them coming!

  • Steven Marino December 19, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Always a pleasure to read Millicent’s work. Beautiful imagery!