Danusha Laméris is the author of The Moons of August, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. Some of her poems have been published in: The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Gettysburg Review, and Ploughshares. She teaches poetry independently, and is the current Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.
Sometimes the most compelling landscapes are the ones where worlds collide: where a desert meets the sea, a civilization, no-man’s land. Here in Bonfire Opera, grief and Eros grapple in the same domain. A bullet-hole through the heart, a house full of ripe persimmons, a ghost in a garden. Coyotes cry out on the hill, and lovers find themselves kissing, “bee-stung, drunk” in the middle of road. Here, the dust is holy, as is the dark, unknown. These are poems that praise the impossible, wild world, finding beauty in its wake.
Excerpt from “Bonfire Opera”
In those days, there was a woman in our circle
who was known, not only for her beauty,
but also for taking off all her clothes and singing opera.
And sure enough, as the night wore on and the stars
emerged to stare at their reflections on the sea,
and everyone had drunk a little wine,
she began to disrobe, loose her great bosom
and the tender belly, pale in the moonlight,
the Viking hips, and to let her torn raiment
fall to the sand as we looked up from the flames.