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Henri Cole


In the Doria Pamphili garden,
most of the granite niches are empty,
the male gods have lost their genitals,
and the Great Mother, Hera, has no head.

Something has gone awry
in the artificial lake.
Burrowing deep into the black banks
enclosed by wire mesh,
families of nutria are eradicating-
with webbed hind feet,
blunt muzzled heads
and long orange incisors-
Pope Innocent X's pleasure garden's

Gothic as the unconscious,
the heavy tapered bodies
root along the irrigation ditches,
making their way in a criminal trot
towards the swans, whose handsome,
ecclesiastical wings open out

Each day I come back.
The skay is Della Robbia blue.
As I rise to my feet,
a swan-immaculate
and slef-possessed as the ambulance
bearing my half-dead Mother-
grasps into the depths
and tears a weed up,
dripping like a chandelier,
while paddling behind are the derelict rodents,
hankering-with big sleepy eyes,
suggesting something like matrimonial bliss,
and plush gray fur,
undulating like the coat my mother wore-
to hunt the grass-shrouded
cygnet eggs and gut
their bloody embryos.

Submitted: Friday, July 21, 2006
Edited: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

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  • Rookie - 40 Points Linda Ori (7/21/2006 4:43:00 PM)

    Wow- Henri! What a brilliant use of imagery. I can totally visualize every word of this superbly written piece. Your style is intense and gripping. Good job, and deserving of a 10!
    Linda (Report) Reply

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