“For The Roses: For Joni Mitchell” by Lyn Lifshin

Portrait Of Joni Mitchell

FOR THE ROSES

For Joni Mitchell

I think of her watching the
last rose petals on a
day like today, say deep
August, browning like
an old rubber doll
she might have left
in an attic in Canada.
I think of her pressing
skin against glass, a sense
of summertime falling,
that sense of fall
that  that Sylvia Plath
wrote of. Or maybe some
freeze frame of what
is going, moving on.
I see her pale arms,
sea mist velvet jeans
hugging hips that
never will not be boyish.
In the wind, gone
voices move close
to her cheek bones. In
this frame she could be in
a fancy 30’s gown. Some
thing is raw, some thing
is broken. It has to be
a full moon
etching black water.
She has to know that
from what is torn
and scarred, some
thing almost too
exquisitely beautiful
is already stirring,
some thing dark
as coal becoming
diamond, insistent,
dying to be born

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