Sestina for D.L by Laura Del Col Brown
Sestina for D.L.
Transfiguration takes place upon a mountain,
Or so they say. Is a card, after disposal,
Transfigured when we wish it weren’t too late
To read the postmark? From generic to particular
Is a shared trip; at best, one gives a clue
To turn the other’s glimpse into a sighting.
We might as well start there: with the last sighting
Of him alive. A man asked the way to a mountain,
No names required. They never have a clue.
His memory seemed made for quick disposal:
Too light a coat, no accent in particular —
Why sound those vowels? They told him it was late.
A glassy eye watched over him, as, of late,
It watches over us all. But simple sighting,
It turns out, doesn’t show much in particular.
We gaze on, willing molehill into mountain:
The eating of a sandwich, the disposal
Of packaging, may give us half a clue.
The dead aren’t often stingy with a clue;
They come pre-wrapped in stories. But the late
Subject grins gently and resists disposal:
All that you’ll get, you’ll get at your first sighting.
Who did he think he was, up on his mountain?
Was he expecting any wisdom in particular?
What stymies us and spurs us, in particular,
Is, we know him inside out, each buried clue:
The isotope that didn’t match the mountain,
The steel that braced his bone. But we’ve come late:
Some nameless thing has slipped beyond our sighting.
We rearrange the facts: still no disposal.
Then, suddenly, it’s all at our disposal:
We have a name. He has. To be particular,
A core of consonants that guides our sighting
From one name to another. Chase the clue:
He was outcast. He was loved. He left things late.
Nobody heard him talk about that mountain.
Sighting, perforce, ourselves in every clue,
With no particular offering, too late
For disposal of the pure, we roam the mountain.
© 2017 Laura Del Col Brown
I started writing seriously about ten years ago, after a long silence. My poetry and prose have appeared in publications including Maudlin House, Poor Yorick Journal, Corvus Review and the DSCH Journal. Two of my poems (“Bat Walk” and “On Seeing the North Korean Prison Camps on Google Earth”) have also been printed in postcard-sized format as part of the Nottingham, UK-based Poem Flyer project. I’ve found inspiration for my work in the natural world, current events, the visual arts, and the music of Dmitri Shostakovich.