Poetry & Prose

Asking to Remain

What kind of beast would turn its life into words?

                                             –Adrienne Rich, Poem VII


Gazing up, I see
your face at every age — veins
creeping up from lashes, third eye
shuttered, hooded verdigris
set in powder rose.

My body, quaking,
is familiar to me
in this ashen coat, but I find
your shape
only in moments:

watching frozen shores wash up on sidewalks,
drunk, admiring glass Neptunes,
or happy and crying,
dreaming together of the ancient tenderness in poppies.

To melt
through the drums
of your temple
to wet brain, intoxicated —

there settle nightmares that wear no face: language in pieces,
steadfast and broken, laden in spaces (under foot).

Silent haunt of the unexploded, echoing in invisible registers
— with warmth, like radiator heat rising in the shadows.

Art by Eva Strauss.

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