In a dream,
I sifted through the Dark,
in search of *Yerag.
during the home stretch,
I pray for its return.
And there you all are,
armed again, with your straws and pillows,
stealing what once was mine.
Without it, broken pots stand at my feet —
they were ugly as sin,anyway. Without it,
Jhene Aiko’s “Eternal Sunshine”
plays on a loop.
Without it, at only twenty-seven,
the letters are ready.
*Armenian word for “vein”
can be enough to make you look up
at the yellowed leaves of the apple tree, the few
that survived the rains and frost, shot
with late afternoon sun. They glow a deep
orange-gold against a blue so sheer, a single bird
would rip it like silk. You may have to break
your heart, but it isn’t nothing
to know even one moment alive. The sound
of an oar in an oarlock or a ruminant
animal tearing grass. The smell of grated ginger.
The ruby neon of the liquor store sign.
Warm socks. You remember your mother,
her precision a ceremony, as she gathered
the white cotton, slipped it over your toes,
drew up the heel, turned the cuff. A breath
can uncoil as you walk across your own muddy yard,
the big dipper pouring night down over you, and everything
you dread, all you can’t bear, dissolves
and, like a needle slipped into your vein—
that sudden rush of the world.
— Ellen Bass (b.1947—)
I loved the white moon circles
and the purple halos,
on a plate as the salt sweat them.
The oil in the pan smoked like bad
days in the Syrian desert—
when a moon stayed all day—
when morning was a purple
elegy for the last friend seen—
when the fog of the riverbank
rose like a holy ghost.
My mother made those white moons sizzle
in some egg wash and salt—
some parsley appeared
from the garden
and summer evenings
came with no memory
but the table with white dishes.
beauty, bitter apple.
We used our hands.
— Peter Balakian (1951-)
This is how
During your yesterday —
my today —
closing in on fifty-two,
playing “West” on a loop.
How slow time had moved for us —
for me and Tuesday Anne —
so, there I was,
casting sheep’s eyes at the Broken Man.
had fire-tipped my ears.
He was neither the first — nor last, I’m sure —
a pattern reappeared:
of something indiscreet,
and by all counts,
The summer before your death,
I’d heard it’s first tick:
a subconscious inkling of that October 9th,
there, there it was — the snip of your wick.
But how can I be sorry
when I left the urn and you didn’t?
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
— Lucille Clifton (1936-2010)
Eleven, One, Nine.
Brain swimming —
muddled by cheap white wine.
Yellowtail Moscato, I think.
Buried so deep
I was untouched.
My heart soared
and I sighed on his breast,
because I believed it to be your breast.
bites like hotel bed bugs.
When two souls fall in love, there is nothing else but the yearning to be close to the other. The presence that is felt through a hand held, a voice heard, or a smile seen.
Souls do not have calendars or clocks, nor do they understand
the notion of time or distance. They only know it feels right to
be with one another.
This is the reason why you miss someone so much when they
are not there— even if they are only in the very next room.
Your soul only feels their absence— it doesn’t realize the
separation is temporary.