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Prairie Schooner 79.4 (2005) 9-10

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Butterfly Effect, and: Iconography

Butterfly Effect

For Anne Diggory
Enchanted on the painting's edge,
a butterfly punctuates the page
where marks of pigment aim to fix
explosions of a world in flux –
frozen faults, stalled waterfalls,
the painter hanging up wilderness
securely as the clip's black spring
preventing the image from taking wing –
a butterfly clamp. The true insect
waggles dark wings, which deflect
air so a thousand miles away
late summer shivers in first snow
while ice caps swell the polar seas
and your lips brush my eyelashes.
Fastening here, unbuttoning there,
which butterfly to choose?
Which wings best tune our darkening air –
chrome skeleton? Black gossamer? [End Page 9]


Kneeling on the crossbar
Eve offers a skull
to a bewildered Adam.
Never seen that before!
What happened to the apple?
Exposing her pudendum

to Adam, who reclines
with his skinny arms
crossed over his crotch,
she aims to tease his bones,
to straighten him out. He dreams
far to the west a church

where a lamb sits reading a book.
He dreams off in the east,
its oil lost down a hole,
a sinister synagogue.
A hammer in a fist
threatens a sinner's skull,

through whose eyes the snake
slinks like a chromosome.
The apple's in its jaws!
But the skull's jaws will not speak,
this skeleton of Adam
grinning at the cross.

Jay Rogoff's latest book is How We Came to Stand on That Shore (River City P). His work appears in the Paris Review, the Progressive, Salmagundi, and Southern Review.



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pp. 9-10
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