Linda Stryker

Bel Canto

I know what song a rose will sing when heard

by crows in spring and owls in snowy green.

I know what song a bee will hum when heard

by bluebells joined in ringing fragrant grace.


I know what poem a swan will read when Death

collects his playthings from the earth and sends

them hither, deep and gone, or lost in space,

depends how well the game was played with rules

untold and wallops by an unseen hand.

Indigo Dream

Indigo lines golden wrappings,

broken hearts hide

behind outcroppings of seaside trysts.

Indigo cries, wails,

deep blue keening for past love.

I pull an indigo plug from my throat––

ah, to breathe again, indigo’s pulpy

surface, bending to my squeeze.

Inner compulsions impel

indigo to type out names:

blue-violent murderers,

animals, babies.


Where in the country of indigo

is my heart found––half broken off––

huddled in a deep pool of sand.

If indigo had changed

its temporal thinking to heart-mender,

we could have lived in consolation,

how warm biscuits solace

my body that yearned for indigo

and received venom.


Words of my indigo urge me––

in language I don’t speak––

to learn its blue-violet secrets,

its soul-longing for a beguiling glue––

the patient adhesive to couple

a half-heart with another half-heart,

to hear the whole

beat beat beat.