A Poem for Sally

(for Sally)

she said, markedly. “She
is a Red Admiral.”

It was the day after
Adrienne Rich died.
And I was thinking

I wish I knew more
about flora and fauna.
I was also thinking

of the time Rich remonstrated
John Berryman for his drinking,
how we drab ones, like moths,

are instructed. No myth
in her red-flecked skirt, she
advanced to the window,

setting down
her book of


Diving in she didn’t know
she would surface in this

wearing (not catching)
“the thing itself”
on the back of her wrist.

Unarmed (sans net)
she wore her fleeting
charm on a bracelet of poise.

I opened the door and backed
away to watch
this tandem face

its noisy moat
and sail across,
epaulets intact.



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