- Some Shadows, and: What They Do To You In Distant Places, and: Where Is Odysseus From And What Was He Before He Left For The Trojan War?, and: At The Airport, and: Florence
- The Missouri Review
- University of Missouri
- Volume 5, Number 2, Winter 1981-82
- pp. 5-17
- View Citation
- Additional Information
POETRY SOME SHADOWS / Marvin Bell On the snow at night, I saw once the shadow of a huge sound, which I had heard begin as I passed under an old cherry tree, then immaculate for winter. There was the preparation, which I can only say I heard, though sound came next. There was the sound, all at once— a living thing, lifting. I felt a giant presence and looked down. When I looked up, the shadow I had seen leaving took all the sky. Too big for me, I thought, but when I thought again I could see again the owl I had seen on the lawn of the church the morning the Methodists met to make the softball team. Over its head, it wore a number 3 paper bag. Someone thought it could see better in the dark. It spoke a little, took a step this way and that, before someone else put it under an arm and took it toward dusk. I walked on the lawn with the good Boy Scouts, thinking, that dumb owl. Come out in the open like that. I can see him today, slowed by sunlight, stuck to his shadow. Inside the paper bag, his pinned wing made a sound like applause. The Missouri Review · 7 WHAT THEY DO TO YOU IN DISTANT PLACES /Marvin Bell I never told you. There was a woman—in the greening season of a tropical island where I had gone to break some hard thoughts across my knee and also, although I am no athlete but breathe with my stomach like the satyr and live in my stomach according to bile and acid and bread and bitter chocolate, to run a long race for the first time. On that morning, it was raining in great screens of the purest water and almost no one at 4 a.m. where I waited, half-sheltered by the edge of my dark hotel, for a let-up. Except her, suddenly from nowhere—smelling of long hair and dew, smelling of dew and grass and a little powder. She wore a dress that moved. She had been out dancing and the night and she were young. I wore a black watchcap like an old sailor but I was all there was. I said no, I had to do something else. She asked how far? And if I would run all that way—hours. I said I'd try, and then she kissed me for luck and her mouth on mine was as sweet as the wild guava and the smell of her hair was that of the little bit of dew the lover brings home from the park when again she shows up in the morning. I don't know where I have been that I have ever had such a kiss 8 ¦ The Missouri Review Marvin Bell that asked nothing and gave everything. I walked out into the rain as if blessed. But I had forgotten what they do to you in distant places, taking away your memory before sending you back. You and me. I confess, I forgot her within the hour in the gross odors of my labors. If I had known what she was doing . . . Perhaps she's with you now. Marvin Bell The Missouri Review · 9 WHERE IS ODYSSEUS FROM AND WHAT WAS HE BEFORE HE LEFT FOR THE TROJAN WAR? / Marvin Bell By a city building in Málaga— upon a hill it was, but nothing important had taken place or was taking place, even inside us, when we visited most of that year the five countries in which the dollar was slipping and fewer foreigners were tipping— I found a pod that resembles two shells of brown turtles, hinged at one end, yawning at the other, from which there escaped the tiniest wooden seeds borne by the thinnest flakes of wings, and no one there could say what it was. So I took six. On the brightest day, when I might have seen a mermaid in the Mediterranean, I saw the way the color changes halfway out to the limits of particular vision. It was green "here" and blue "out there." It was sky-blue...