Frank Osen



Brought to the deep-end of the Afghan rug,
beyond the agapanthus-patterned chair,
she sees, she sees, a lake of lacquer table
on which, today, admonitory ferns
nod above a hammered-copper kettle

and reflected in orange metal, the upward sweep
of an imagined arch, an intimation
of the virgin in her shadowed nook
above an empty cockle-fluted font.
Then past red doors, the rough of brilliant sun

that eats an outside courtyard whole
but coolly bathes a little chapel’s walls
in infantine and underwater pinks.
Mosaic floors (how many hadals deep?)
run rings of yellow brass that band

the kettle’s bottom like a diving-sphere,
easing in a stir of lamp-lit silt
through corals, to a sudden columned curtain
of applause, beyond which sits an audience
awaiting, on which stage, what matinee?

Where, for a moment now, she finds herself
disturbed that she’s forgotten how to say.