Oriana Ivy 

              for the people of the village of Ponikła 


Tassels flow through my hand,
beads of grain roll against
the husk of my palm.
I lean to the lost


fire of the weeds:
the blue flame
of cornflowers,
papery mouths of poppies.


A rooster’s few
drawn-out notes
journey in the echo.
I stand shoulder-deep


in blond light.
Wind holds me,
then lets me go.


A farmer halts his horse,
points at me with his whip:
Black hair, strong head.
You will never go crazy.




I am the harvest now.
Sheaf by sheaf,
sky holds me,
then lets me go.



Oriana Ivy was born in Poland and came to the United States when she was 17. Her poems, essays, book reviews, and translations from modern Polish poetry have been published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry 1992, Nimrod, New Letters, The Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Black Warrior, Wisconsin Review, Prairie Schooner, Spoon River Review, Southern Poetry Review, and many other journals and anthologies. A former journalist and community college instructor, she teaches poetry workshops. She lives in San Diego.




Oriana Ivy


                         When our life is ashes, it will not
                         Be ashes through and through –
                         For under the ash will remain
                         A starry diamond.
                                   ~ Cyprian Norwid



You were born under an unlucky star,
the fake Gypsy said
at the half-price
reading of my palms.
The windowsill was lit
by Jesus with a light bulb heart.
Do you believe in God?
the Gypsy pressed.

Earlier that year, I turned down
three gorgeous young men.
How could I reach the heights
unless I sublimated my libido?


But where was it, this new Life in Art?
I was drowning in a maelstrom
of erotic fantasies. In the end
I threw myself at an alcoholic
Vietnam veteran, the comet of his
ponytail the flag of Mr. Wrong.


In the quiet of my appeased body,
I could see the oleanders again,
starry scatter of poisonous blossoms.
I could smell the iodine ocean.
You don’t even know what love is,
the Gypsy wailed. But perhaps I did.


First thing in job-shattered morning,
I’d reach for a book that slept
with me under the pillow.
That was my real love life;
my youth, between weeping.
My star the color of ash.
Yet underneath that death,
immortal diamond.



                                                                                                                                                                                                               Oriana Ivy – please see author’s full biography in her additional works or on the Author’s Page.