Kathleen Price Joy

We regretted the way to joy had been a labyrinth
of our making, where from interiors we'd made our way
further inside toward endings we could recognize
and turn back from. We'd invented the pocket labyrinth,
we trained our dogs to bark when we said speak,
we offered one another jewelry. But when the geckos
came inside for moths who'd found our lamps,
the joy we felt was magical, a violence of gentleness
apart from us that might revisit any night. Rare animals
are pink; small moths like these had changed to dust
while dying in the past. So it was terror kept awake in joy
that we began to feel rummaged by: there were
photographs of grandparents as youths,
there were fetishes: a fox, white in the face
where the stone was white, a bird made from a shell,
and a mole was carved from clearest quartz to magnify
the uselessness of sight. We could be struck dumb
by a small box made entirely of cloves and thread,
or by the relicarios where saints had been preserved
in two-inch portraits that were assemblages of feathers;
there were evenings the sky was lavender
and we were lost, there were dreams that recurred,
there was the same love you have now, and we were lost.


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