After “Spanish Lady”, Irish traditional

White crane walking like a bag
Out of the hatch of rosemary.
The white crane tugs and fades.
Two brothers love the same woman.

I move my hopes over my hair
and then over my whole body.
In the botanic trash along the 101
pomegranate branches like threads on a screw.

“I saw a lady on a chair
Washing her feet in the LA River!”

The mountain lions
with their fists like flour sacks
carefully descend the mountain
at angles. Roses flop in the winds.

In a song and on tv
a brother kills his brother
over a woman
like a ball into a mitt
or with a cord.

“I saw a lady on a golden chair
washing her feet in the LA River.
And then she fled on
her little ankles like wheeled toy trucks.”

My lover lies facedown
on the hotel bed.
I pour my hair from his head to his calf.
He falls asleep.

A drone carries its four hands
like hawks carry their nails.
“Brother I saw a long-haired lady
brushing her hair with a silver comb.”

Out of the stucco house.
Olives on the sidewalk. The liquor store,
the curtain store. All the songs swing
like the legs of drying clothes. TV in a door.

Meat on the billboard. Address on the stucco.
My lover’s body is a booth
in the bed. The leaf blower gulps
then goes again.

The red pomegranates swing.
“Say to our mother
That I will bring dinner from work.”
There is a water tank,
there is a fire trail.

A rotisserie chicken
for dinner tonight.
The LA River through the vegetables.
The crane bounces. Behind the high school

the hard headwaters of the LA River.
I bend on my naked lover.
I drive my shining hair down his spatial body.
The white crane opens its wing
and raps, raps its wing.


Photo by Shea Rouda on Unsplash

Elizabeth Atherton

Elizabeth Atherton is a writer and artist living in Los Angeles. Her poetry has appeared in American Chordata, Berkeley Poetry Review and Salt Hill Journal amongst other journals. She also writes fiction and art theory: her work in these fields has appeared in Beacon Quarterly Review (print and digital) and in a monograph on the subject of philosopher Walter Benjamin.