Poetry from The Dominion Review

The Oils of Europe
Katherine Soniat

Looking at Glass
Marjorie Maddox

Walking on Ice, Thinking of Rasputin
S. C. Hahn

Katherine Soniat

The Oils of Europe

The fish chased Captain Smith, and on her tail
was a poison stinger which she stuck an inch
and one half into the wrist of his arm.
--Dr. Walter Russell, John Smith's
Travels and Works

The task is always greater than conceived,
and so it was as we set sail to perform
a discovery--in and out of islands,

coves, with a wind so blustery
we named one the Isle of Limbo,
last howling stop before Hell.

When sun rose out of the east's softland,
we came to see the natives
most respected grazing the water

with shot. That and, of course,
they loved our prized white beads.
These cause the greatest consternation

as gold does amongst the Christians.
The only glittering I saw was of fish
so thick we scooped them up with frying pans,

which brings me to that Flapping One
who speared my flesh with her great sword tail.
Swollen and blue,

I commanded my grave be dug,
and stood therein, waiting,
while the good doctor rubbed me

with all the oils of Europe.
Greased with such knowledge I came unpuffed,
and so dined on "enemy" for supper.

But first I gave that fish the honors
afforded our dead, naming the land Sting Ray Isle
to celebrate another discovery--

this time that I was still most blessedly alive.

Marjorie Maddox

Looking at Glass

Alice had it right.
You step in and become
not what you are but what you think
you want. Snow White,
in her clear coffin, was the chic
her stepmom hunted in the mirror.
Wherever she went, that shadow followed,
white as wafers and pure. Beauty is beyond
our own beasts but before that are shards of glass
where you put your head through
or your foot in, slicing
heel-toe, heel-toe to fit the slipper.
In glass, we all smile cheshire.
Which way to go depends on the angle
of light and mirror.

S. C. Hahn

Walking on Ice, Thinking of Rasputin

In the parking lot's sheet of ice
gray as a winter Russian lake
a bubble of air is trapped,
an icon for each footstep.

Rasputin's last pearl of breath
glistened within the Neva's crystal
setting, lustrous as any stone
that cooled the Czarina's breast.

After the bullets, the poisoned cakes,
they will dump me into the river:
the current will fondle my hair.

All of the lovers I have used
will press their blue hands
over my open mouth.

The Dominion Review Poetry
Page Two