Isabella 21 Months: Twelve Days by John Oliver Simon

The lady we pass on Opal knows the song
and joins our chorus in a sweet contralto:
turtle-dove and a partridge in a pear tree…
You laugh astonished at this coincidence.
Twelve — a number beyond imagining — days,
counted down by ladies, milkmaids, swans, gold rings.

“More Krispess Heights!” Christmas lights, you talk with an
accent as if you had recently swum over
from Babylandia, smelling of molecules,
emitting carbon dioxide as you ride
past lights on tree and porch like stars or candles,
while the stroller rolls forever down Opal.

John Oliver Simon is one of the legendary poets of the Berkeley Sixties who has remained true to his calling. Published from Abraxas to Zyzzyva, his last book was Caminante (2002) which Gary Snyder blurbed as "a major poem." He is also a distinguished translator of contemporary poetry from Latin America, who received an NEA Fellowship for his work with the great Chilean poet Gonzalo Rojas (1917-2011). He is Artistic Director of Poetry Inside Out, a program of the Center for the Art of Translation, and is River of Words 2013 Teacher of the Year.

Bay Laurel  /  Volume 2, Issue 3  /  Autumn 2013