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We Are All Lesbians - A Plumbing Poem (cont) and Invocation to Sappho

page 16

from which i keep expecting my destiny to emerge
or better
wanting to construct
construct a wonderfully complicated structure
22 ideal bends
and lots of pipes
that will carry
all of my unhappiness
all of my i don't wants
all of the must nots
away around and down
down the sewer
into the Schuylkill
i've put my faith in pipes
i trust them
i know
pipes are always
always there
are carrying
carrying waste and rot and ugliness away
and bringing
bringing fresh clean cooling consoling waters

Diane Devennie

Invocation to Sappho

souled, fire-hearted
Psappha of Mitylene on
sea-lapped Lesbos
miracle of a woman
(Strabo wrote)
now now
let me declare

page 17

Not light years love years
on how many love years
across the fields of the dead
does your fragrance
travel to me?

Since maidenhood in brain blood
by you haunted
in my armpits I have breathed
sweat of your passion
in the burning crotch of the lover
tasted your honey
heard felt in my pulse
lure of your song's beat
insistently echo.

By dush of five-and-twenty centuries
not smothered
by book-consuming flames of
the hate-filled churchmen
your fame only haloed made
more splendid.

Sappho, little and dark,
the Beautiful, Plato called you
(though his Republic had
grudging use for poets)
Sappho, whose veins ran fire
whose nerves
quivered to loves illicit now
in your day
honored by the noblest
Sappho, all roses,
do we not touch
across the censorious years?

Elsa Gidlow