Summer 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 3 Poetry |

Beauty Queen

When the beauty queen returns home, dry grass, old colorof the fences, fierce sky enchant heruntil in memory, in a white bathing cap, she is making a spectacular diveinto the municipal pool, and feels again the exhilaration:her heart at once trapped, and flung out to chance. Women walk at ease on the makeshift stage. Down the runway,in the circle of light, the microphone goes dead. Pride. Terror at night. The man in the tuxedoasking what the Fourth of July means, to her. And then it happens.Roses into her pale arms.Fragile shells,brackish tide at her heels, and the audience waiting in relief, in shadow . . . She opens her mouthto the familiar,soft circle of red,the pretty but plain face hiding thousands of other faces. She could conjure the girlof the waterfall, bathing within her. Calls rose from the sea, but the practiced mouth couldn't say anything wrong, and so it was agreed. Something was with her.

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Gillian Conoley’s seventh collection of poetry, Peace, is forthcoming with Omnidawn this spring. Her translations of Henri Michaux will appear in City Lights Pocket Poets Series sometime this year. She teaches at Sonoma State University, where she edits Volt.

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Bedrock

By Gillian Conoley

When the beauty queen returns home, dry grass, old colorof the fences, fierce sky enchant heruntil in memory, in a white bathing cap, she is making a spectacular diveinto the […]

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