Joe Dolce: ‘Cavafy Bath’ and ‘Dead Owl Ceremony’

Cavafy Bath

He has been indulgent
too much wine too much reverie
staggering down the hall
in the dark toward the bath
lit in candlelight
salts and oil steaming the glass.

The old poet removes his clothes,
slips into hot water,
uttering soft sounds as heat
relaxes vexed muscles,
sliding beneath candlelit water,
ecstasy consumes his mind,
his senses re-invigorated,
his body responding with Eros,
recalling caresses
of lovers he knew in youth.

There, in the dark, in the low-light,
in the wax-lit water,
he abandons himself to reverie.

Joe Dolce

Dead Owl Ceremony

Feathering a herringbone hue,
its dry wingspan, flat in grass,
shows a straight flush.
Ruffled and broken neck askew,
a fine gargoyle beak curves
like an old fella’s nail,
clenched resolute
on the final whooo vowel.
Two crusted eyes,
that should never have failed,
(for what else is an owl?),

and why, at the fuzzy ear triangle,
does a frantic queue of ants
slow its pace?
Ah! a Meadow Argus,
settling on the stiff yellow claws,
spreads a Noh face.

Joe Dolce

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