I. Palette

What were those? Those were fiery


No, those were the nights of childhood.

Madness and sky clung together

In that sleep

And surrender.

Surely you've been there many times before.

You've come a long way just to hang back.

Those were rosary beads shining out of the dark.

No, those were the nights of childhood.

No, those were fiery craters.

II. Tallis With Stripes From Judges 5:30

There was this place famous for its dye, the most

Prized of which was purple. The fabrics often came out

Fuchsia or maroon or magenta or bruise or lavender.

The fences and furrows were a bluish brown.

Storms and berries were the exact color of each other.

A certain occupied barn was especially purple

Because a little girl there knew all about adult love affairs.

The grown woman there knew a cold, vengeful rage.

Once the girl hanged herself from a violet rafter

When she had had about all she could take. The woman

Tomorrow climbed up and lifted the body from the noose.

She sprinkled it liberally with a clear liquid. Then

A little repentance entered the woman's heart,

But too late: the girl had already come back to life.

In a perfect fury they fought, tooth, nail, and shuttle,

But with the most marvelous results. Once the mad

Shredding was over and done with, two piles of threads,

Verily heaps of skeins, beautiful, lay.

The pair set to work. Girls and women elsewhere

Likewise set up their looms, stretched the warp

Good and tight, and their cloth was in no way inferior.

But nothing lasts forever, especially preparation.

Sad come the days of greatest relief and happiness

When men's mothers strain at festooned windows,

And every warrior among the returning wears

A prey of divers colours of needlework,

Of divers colours of needlework for both sides,

Meet for the necks of them that take the spoil.

There was a place famous for its dye, the most

Prized of which was purple. The fabrics came out

Fuchsia or maroon or magenta or bruise or lavender.

The fences and furrows were a brownish blue.

Storms and berries were the exact opposite of white.

Mary Leader is a professor in the creative writing program at the University of Memphis and the editor-in-chief of River City (http://www.people.memphis.edu/~rivercity/index.html), an internationally distributed literary magazine produced by the graduate students at the University of Memphis. Mary Leader has written two collections of poems: Red Signature (Graywolf Press, 1997) and The Penultimate Suitor (University of Iowa Press, 2001). The poems featured this, our inaugural week of DIPTERA, are from her new manuscript, Readiness.

If you would like to submit a poem of any length, style, level of experimentation to be considered for Diptera, please send your poem/s, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Attn: Lesha Hurliman
460 Tennessee Street, Suite 200
Memphis, TN 38103.

Electronic submissions may be sent to lhurliman@memphisflyer.com. Please include a short bio. Submissions are not limited to Memphis residents.

DIPTERA is not an online Literary journal but something more like bulletin board, and therefore all rights to the poetry published on DIPTERA are retained by the author. Meaning, the poems published on this site can be submitted to any journal without our notification. We do accept poems that have been previously published as long as we are given a means of obtaining permission to post them on Diptera from that publisher.

An extensive order of insects having only two functional wings and two balancers, as the house fly, mosquito, etc. They have a suctorial proboscis, often including two pairs of sharp organs (mandibles and maxill[ae]) with which they pierce the skin of animals. They undergo a complete metamorphosis, their larv[ae] (called maggots) being usually without feet.



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    • Art by Art

      The work of Art Covington.


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