Aubade w/ Elizabeth Taylor

                    after Wallace Stevens


i. (Antony)

I feel
like a torn silk.
The uncomplicated sheen
of a true tear, clean,
for which we long.
That beauty exists
the lostness of the object.
(The truth is hot in us)
The purple odor of the morning
is nothing
but an elegant and abstract sheen.
The lover sighs for something she can breathe.

ii. (Caesar)

The point is I want everything
I see.
I want to feel
like a torn silk
like a wet leaf sliding down a tree.
My eyes are wandering
like the shock of too-white teeth.
Like smooth fish
slicked blue through rivers and then
picked clean as Pisces.
Starry texture on the dawn
horizon like the set of some
Italian movie. (Feast.)

iii. (Cleopatra)

The arch of the sky
is in bloom
with red nothing and
the blueblack wind spills
more blue into our round
mouthfuls of this
morning. Twice
you’ll tell me about
one of
Poor blue boys run
to meet me running
out of things
to see.

Afternoon Sun


To behold the roughness
the cloth of her dress
like a straw-scoured
grid or bristled cat.
She leans into her real shadow.
She leans into her real shadow on a real,
sunlit wall.

The point is I imagined
myself doing
what the dancer was doing.
The point is I longed to feel it
in my own body—with my own limbs
collapse, flex, contained in a grid.


Ellen Morgan Butler is originally from Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated with a BA in English and Film Studies from the College of Charleston in 2016. Based in Wellington since 2017, Ellen now writes and works as a library assistant. You can find more of her poetry and short fiction in Takahē, Mayhem, and Salty.