Reginald Shepherd

(April 10, 1963 – September 10, 2008 / New York City)

Apollo On What The Boy Gave - Poem by Reginald Shepherd

Eyes the color of winter water,
eyes the winter of water where I

Quoits in the Spartan month
Hyacinthius, the game
joins us, pronounces

us god and boy: I toss him
the discus thinking This is mine
and the wind says Not yet

Memory with small hairs
pasted to pale wet skin
(the flower hyacinthos,
perhaps a fritillaria, not
the modern Hyacinthus orientalis)

After he smells of orange groves,
spreads white ass meat for me
him with a hole drilled in him I try
to fill: I ease my way into his orchard

(the ornamental Liliaceae
genera, including the spring
-flowering Crocus and Hyacinthus,
and the summer-flowering
Hemerocallis or day lily; also
Amaryllis, Hippeastrum, and Narcissus)

A blow struck by jealous Zephyrus, or
Boreas, by other accounts:
his skin annotated by the wound
that explicates his mortality
in red pencil, wind edits him down to
withering perennial, shriveled bulb

(perhaps a pre-Hellenic god, his
precise relationship to Apollo
still obscure, though clearly
a subordinate)

Him with a hole I keep trying
to make, dead meat of white

blooms in hand

(onion as well, garlic, leek,
chive, and asparagus)

And where he was
this leafless stalk (bluebell,
tulip, torch lily, trillium:
snowdrop, Solomon’s
seal) I break to take for my own,
black at the core of blossoming

(a bell-shaped nodding flower,
usually solitary)


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Read poems about / on: flower, winter, water, memory, wind, summer, spring, red, god



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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