Reflection On R.C. Gorman’s Reflection, Spring Dance, & Woman, Flower, Midsummer Night


Reflection On R.C. Gorman’s Reflection

She hovers over cold water
colored a blue more alarming than
           a Southwest sky.

The lavender sand, empty
of whiskered cacti could mean
           a lover’s drought.

She could topple in
to her wet death,
           like Ophelia.

Or, alone at last, freed from weaving,
man, children, hearth
            she searches

her reflection for her smile
which must have fallen under
            the surface.

Instead she finds the moon,
a thin sliced frown. The round ripples
            suggest speech

as if the moon tells her happiness
hides out of sight
            and within.


Spring Dance

After Ruby Throated Hummingbird, R.C. Gorman, 1992

Notice how this bird
flirts with a raven-
haired woman
instead of that flower,
cowering in the corner.
It is tough to guess
which red draws him
toward her honeysuckle
hand. Her lips, cheeks,
or the promise of pink
sap hidden inside her shirt
incite his motor to hum,
his wings to flick faster
than a camera shutter.
He sees her beads
as fertile seeds
planted neatly around
her ears and neck.
He wants to bury
his beak inside her
sand dune skin, flushed
by cloudless skies.
Notice how her eyes consider
this bird adorned
with bowtie as he dances
at her celebration between
thunderstorms and spring.


Woman, Flower, Midsummer Night

After “Midnight,” R.C. Gorman

O Cereus under a star-studded summer sky,
the cacti surround you like unshaven lovers
vying for a chance to scrape against your silky skin,
brush through your felt-soft hair, feel beneath
your petal-pink skirt. There are choices here,
and your calmly splayed body believes this night
will never die, but Cereus, dear, it will be gone by dawn
when your scented flower forever fades with morning
rays. After that, your youth like petals fray and fall,
                      to reveal what breathes within your tender leaves,
                      under those same midnight stars staring down.

Brenda Nicholas has recently earned her MFA at UNCW in poetry. Her work has appeared in The Painted Bride Quarterly, Rumble, Micro Fiction Magazine, Main Channel Voices, Red River Review, Illya’s Honey, Menacing Hedge, Snapdragon, and The Helix Magazine. She lives in Austin TX and teaches English courses at Temple College.