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Cutting iris

By Harvena Richter / October 25, 1982



They were tall as I storming the gate, flashing not flags but marvelous banners, gold-fringed, wind-gusted - nodding in the distance like plumed knights possessing the field, their green swords soft at their sides. I stalked the garden with my knife (their muscles froze to green glass) wondering in what world I moved with creature not flower, nor animal, nor person, but a being within: invisible, all-glorious; outward only the violet flesh in delicate folds (I stepped more softly) and inside that luminous fluted skull, that exquisite goblet, those three leaping eyes, sealed with gilt lashes, what airy mind? I cut them warily - somewhere were words: thin lilac discs, vocal circles caught in the silken gorge. Mute cry of outrage at my daring to pick them? at trying to grasp the candelabra out of Revelations - seven flames on a branch and in the midst, girt in a purple garment, a golden girdle, Rilke's perilous angel?

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