Maxine, back from a weekend with her boyfriend,
smiles like a big cat and says
that she's a conjugated verb.
She's been doing the direct object
with a second person pronoun named Phil,
and when she walks into the room,
everybody turns:

some kind of light is coming from her head.
Even the geraniums look curious,
and the bees, if they were here, would buzz
suspiciously around her hair, looking
for the door in her corona.
We're all attracted to the perfume
of fermenting joy,

we've all tried to start a fire,
and one day maybe it will blaze up on its own.
In the meantime, she is the one today among us
most able to bear the idea of her own beauty,
and when we see it, what we do is natural:
we take our burned hands
out of our pockets,
and clap.

by Tony Hoagland

Other poems of HOAGLAND (35)

Comments (4)

Out of our pockets! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
So much in this accessible poem! The title suggests this is about something basic—and it is—in the clever and humorous use of grammatical terms, it reminds us of how love transforms. Cool! -GK
This Maxine sounds like quite the lovable character. But what I really love about this poem is the way you capture her essence. It is the most alluring thing in the world to be self assured and to know/love who you are as a person. When other people see that it's like bees to nectar.~
This first person very singular loves (subjectively) in the eternally present tense this very indicative poem.