Inside the Oyster, Nevermore Is Not

(with a nod to Edgar Allen Poe)

My own black bird the daylight found again, seeking and speaking—

daylight seeking, old bird speaking, no chagrin. Seeking and speaking.

Every crack in every sidewalk rose at midnight—swollen, proud—

but broken mothers hobbled in, seeking and speaking.

Masks of mourning torn from faces, thrown against the wind—

masks of freedom, sadder, paler, underneath them seeking, speaking.

At Mardi Gras blue monk embraces large and olive elephant—

sacred arm in olive trunk, they exit all the fearful din, seeking and speaking.

Invasion, accident, and nacre; countless crystals, miracle—

as complicated gods might come, seeking and speaking.

Ghazal for Lenny

—in memoriam July 2014

Into decades, clear thick wall, perhaps a mirror, I bow, and recollect.

Into death, dispersed, not disappeared: allow, and recollect.

He was as vivid as cut red glass in sun, a cup, accepting.

He was young and large with long dark hair. The gods endow, and recollect.

Ah, the many years, the drinks, the poetry, the suffering, the politics—

the core cannot have burned to crisp, the man was good. Let us avow, and recollect.

He drew love, magnetized and shining. He drew irritation, rage. He was not small.

Remember overalls, a hippy look, a happy mind. Those eyes. And now. And recollect.

Perhaps a life is evermore complete. Perhaps a soul eternally explodes

into a finer, wilder air. Perhaps he's there. I bow and breathe: Oh, thou. And recollect.


There will be a broken mirror far beyond the on and on.

In crevices the gritty substance shone and plumbed the on and on.

Bite against the sandy surface, ruddy surface, shining sea.

Child with apple bright and broken sang and drummed the on and on.

In the alley all the trash cans call to cats on summer nights.

Old guitarist, blue and stringy, never found the on and on.

Heavy women sink the ships, dreaming nightly of the land,

circling slowly, darkly, sadly, closing round the on and on.

Tiny tumblers under sky, happy in the hands of gods,

did somersaults on summer lawns and slyly thrummed the on and on.

Sodden apples, fallen, wormy, decorate the tangled yards.

Clear design in clearer glass, shattered, stunned the on and on.

Twist the list and toss it over, let it ride the roaming foam.

Let the meadow lie in shade, let mind abscond with on and on.

Shirley Glubka is the author of: Return to a Meadow: a novel; and All the Difference: poems of unconventional motherhood; and End into Opening: six sestinas and their humble companion poems; and Echoes and Links: poems; and Green Surprise of Passion: Writings of a Trauma Therapist.

Shirley's poetry and prose have appeared in such journals and collections as 2River View; Conditions; Feminist Studies; h.o.m.e. Words; Narramissic Notebook; Puckerbrush Review; Seems; Sinister Wisdom; Sun Dog (The Southeast Review); Tipton Poetry Journal; Lesbians at Mid-life: the Creative TransitionMothers Who Leave: the myth of women without their children; Women in Culture: a Women's Studies Anthology; and, under the name Shirley Starkweather, Naming: poems by 8 women.

Shirley is a retired psychotherapist living in Prospect, Maine with her spouse, Virginia Holmes. Website: 

'Ghazal for Lenny' and 'Surfaces' are published at her website: