May 2002

Leonard Kress


Leonard Kress is the author of two collections, The Centralia Mine Fire (Flume Press, 1988) and Sappho's Apples (Harrow Gate Press, 2000). A third, Orphics, is forthcoming from Kent State University Press. His poetry, fiction, and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, Massachusetts Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, Quarterly West, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. He teaches at Owens College in northwest Ohio where he lives with his wife and their three kids.

Impenetrable Grotto 

after the Polish of Szymon Zimorowicz, 1608-1629

In this hidden grotto, no bird or bell
awakens you, no light can penetrate,
and memory-numbing waters always spill
from some deeper dungeon just to create
sweeter dreams. Let the black wings of night
rush over you, longing to get in. Here, where
poppies glow and silent blackbirds prepare
to nest—Orpheus has come to meet

the one he's watched night after night in dream.
The pleasure is greater the shorter it lasts,
or so he thinks. She grows more beautiful
with each pass, and he tries to touch her breasts.
Doesn't he know she isn't what she seems,
doesn't he know the multiple meanings of fall?




Leonard Kress: Poetry
Copyright 2002 The Cortland Review Issue 20The Cortland Review