The Vestal Lady of Venice

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
Second Place, February 2017
Judged by Sara Clancy


“but if a girl were possible
as I am possible
then marriage would be possible” …
Gregory Corso

I told her she was old with memories, but the truth was when
the moon sings with dreams and twilight her wedding veil,
I see her completely, as she is, and that is entirely alone.

She collected us like she collects butterflies or dogs, frames
and strange glasses, I think the world is blurred to her.
I think she likes it that way. She needs friends, not those

creepy painters. She needs her daughter to wave her wand
and turn her back into a mother. She is a monarch flitting through
an empty palace. The last time I saw her, during one of those wild

soirees, attended by vampires, she was bathing in the moon light.
From the gondolier she hired to ferry us around, as if we were on the river
Styx I could pretend for a moment she was young.

We were both the same age. I watched her rise from the fangy mooned
water, as if to leave her mermaid tail behind to join her tortured guests.
They cat called and waved her back into their amber lit lives.

It were as if she were hiding there among the bottles: a sequin
that had fallen off one of her tiaras or maybe she was a tear.
I looked at the watch she has given so freely from

her own hand and prayed for us both. That there would be time,
Sweet lady, when we could shrug off our tired human skin,
rattlers that devour the light. Then together, drift off

like one of her Chagall couples into a flame red sky,
a sailor’s best omen. Or like that apple that tempts us, leads us
instead into paradise. A place where time is simply a fool’
s notion.


There are so many exquisite lines in this poem, I hardly know where to begin, but “She needs her daughter to wave her wand and turn her back into a mother.” and “Then together, drift off /like one of her Chagall couples into a flame red sky,/a sailor’s best omen.” certainly caught my attention. Truth be told, I like this better than the Corso poem the title references. Simply beautiful. --Sara Clancy

  • August 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Seasoned with Love
      by Eira Needham
      PenShells

      Second Place

      Ill-used
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      A Note for Perilous Times
      by Fred Longworth
      PenShells

      Honorable Mention

      Whatever Glorious Else It Is
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • July 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Corton Beach Holiday Camp, Great Yarmouth
      by Marilyn Francis
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      Still Waltzing with You
      by Allen M. Weber
      Desert Moon Review

      Third Place

      The Aging Magician Speaks to His Reflection
      by Laurie Byro
      Desert Moon Review

      Honorable Mention

      Seeking Duende
      by Richard Chase
      Desert Moon Review

      Honorable Mention

      Dr. Seuss’s Guide to Manly Health and Training
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Honorable Mention

      Resonance
      by Sylvia Evelyn
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      celebrating the 45th anniversary of Father’s Day
      by Michael Virga
      The Writer's Block