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LeeAnn Olivier


for my liver donor
inspired by Leonard Cohen

After the storm Iris moves in mourning colors, a merger
of ether and water, her father a river god, her sisters bright
birds, her hair a cluster of bellflowers bruising the outer sky.
The ancient ones milked lilac ink from sea stars’ poison,

but her purple ripples from a compound of coal tar
and quinine, its elusive hue marbling Victorian Gotham
in an urban sprawl, her pitcher of Styx water pooling you
into slumber heavy with plums and mulberries, music swooning

from Hell’s Kitchen all through the evening. She’s a lily of the Nile,
a splendid sunbird splitting the cityscape. She’ll drag her skirts
over your grave, so please hitch a ride, my love, graze the gauze
of her moss and gossamer gown, her purple jasper crinolines

curling in orchid fronds. Sure, Charon could ferry you through
the muck and the mire, the channel of his brisk, crisp cold laced
with loam and rotting things, but my money’s on the goddess,
flanked by violet-backed starlings and black grackles thimbling

the oiled puddles, their feathers a rainbow latticework, all color
refracted on the atlas of their wings. You will not be what you were,
my love, the rain transforms the water. Riding with Iris, you’re a ghost
town of organza. Flying with Iris, you’re a galaxy of lace.
LeeAnn Olivier is the author of two chapbooks: Doom Loop Wonderland (The Hunger Press, 2021) and Spindle, My Spindle (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016). She holds an MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her poetry has recently appeared in Livina Press, The Missouri Review, Willawaw Journal, and elsewhere. Originally from Louisiana, LeeAnn now teaches English at a college in Fort Worth, Texas. She is a survivor of domestic violence, breast cancer, and an emergency liver transplant. Her forthcoming collection explores the power of nature and the arts in trauma healing.
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