In her own words...

"Awake at Fifteen"


Once intended for a long voyage
my palanquin broke down.
Witnesses remember nothing;
nor I, as all begins again,
as space
                         slows to a
                                                            standstill —

                it's Zeno, streaking, nearly colliding
                with Venus, warm-hearted planet.
                (She has a husband who all but left,
                her lovingkindness too much for him.)

Back home with my flowers. I'm wide awake
and going nowhere.

                Daddy says to watch me like a hawk.
                You see I have these brain emissions,
                spattered sounds under the bridge.

                What was it —
                         petals dropping on the floor,
                                                                       on the tiles,

                death tapping a rose on the shoulder
                in the maelstrom night?

Just imagine, I have a lover.



About this work

“Awake at Fifteen” was first published in Western Humanities Review, Vol. 57, no. 1 (Spring 2003), p. 8.  It is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, A Table of Content: Poems, New York: Graywolf Press, 2004, p. 7, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.