Angie Estes

Nice Dark One
August 13, 2018 Estes Angie

Nice Dark One


Yours is a noble bio, one note

played by an oboe: loon, loan,

loin. Like Christ on the crucifix

in La Sagrada Familia, encircled

by clusters of grapes dangling

from a parasol as if he were

on the parachute ride

at the fair, new moon, you must find

your inner vinter, rent

a rite, a vein: nite nite.

Instead of a stone, roll

the rhododendrons back,

back to Rhodes before the island

arose from the sea because I am practicing

giving up the scarlet Cardinal who sits

each morning on the feeder, cracking

a black oil sunflower seed

with his beak or sometimes swiping

a seed and flying off to place it

in the mouth of his peachy

mate before they both fly off

to the neighbor’s Burning Bush,

where they build their nest

each spring. All morning

he hyperventilates like the

rubber doll I squeezed in

my hand when I was a child, the one born

with a metal navel

in its back, but there is never

enough wind to blow out

the low-lit candles of last year’s

beech leaves still lifted

in the forest. At the close

of the evening service, they always

sang “Just As I Am” and “Let

the Lower Lights Be Burning”—

still, I am practicing

giving up evening, Brunello,

gelato alla nocciola, and finally, as

Zen masters urge, giving up

the i in desire.  But what

will paradise be without i, the lost

paradise, the only one, Proust says,

that is true.




Angie Estessixth collection of poems, Parole, is forthcoming from Oberlin College Press in October 2018. Her previous book, Enchantée, won the 2015 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize, and Tryst was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize.