Helena Minton: 1957

Mallarme, synonym for obstacle
in their suburban saltbox, his poems
a wooden crate for her mother
to kick her way out of,
reciting his lines
as she vacuumed.

A classical explication de texte
of “An Afternoon of a Faun,”
the professor deemed
perfect but out of date.

Mallarmean. Sysiphisian.

His name, deceptive, mellifluous, a pillow
to float on, a cat’s name;
Mallarme, almost a palindrome,
a private family
symbol, a syndrome
demanding to be deconstructed,
with a stuttering undercurrent.

A river the opposite of lethe
kept her mother awake,
churning hot and molten.

Her mother let the needle drop,
seconds of scratching:
Debussy in a minor key.
The child, held the large cardboard
sleeve, listened, stared

at the drawing of a faun
without a w, not a young deer,
but a man, of sorts,
with no shirt on,
his hooves disturbing the hardwood.

A flute wound through the glade
of the living room.
Violins, pan pipes, a harp.
She sat and swung her legs,   
not knowing, not wanting
to be asked
what she was hearing.

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