Linda Gregerson

(August 5, 1950 / Illinois)

Heliotrope - Poem by Linda Gregerson

(Olivier Theatre, South Bank)

I was his favorite, simply that.
And you can see

for yourself why it might have been so:
the lushest, least

likely to weary the eyes of all
the serried wavelengths.

Never obvious.
My bit

of the spectrum unstable somehow,
in a way that kept

bringing him back. Search

on your browser and you'll see
what I mean.

I've never had the advantage of

beauty, as the lily has, I haven't
been able to boast

that stricture of line. That making-
no-mistakes. God

knows I've wished for it, beggars
can dream.

But no. Some neither-this-nor
that turns out to be

my sphere. Some manyness rather
than singular

perfection. Which I like to think
he thought about.

He made this place.
They named it

for him. And upholstered the seats
in heliotrope,

whose cluster of vowels and con-

he loved like my blue-going-violet-

gray. The vocal colors. Warm-up,
nightly, before

the play. So you see, they were
wrong, the ones

who called me unrequited. I
was in his throat,

among the folds and ridges and
beyond them to

the very dome upon whose curve
the heart resides.

Just think what it used to be then,
in the hour before

they'd let the rest of you in:
my many faces toward

the sun who spoke—no, sang—
my name.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, July 6, 2018

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