blackbirdonline journalSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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There were wrongs that could not be righted. Lie. There are wrongs.
I should have stayed & bathed her—one side at a time, until
I’d achieved the symmetry of attention, balanced—as a woman
feels when her lover lays her on the bed & stands, looking carefully
at all of her parts until she is freed, little by little, from the barracks of identity.
That I did not bathe, perfume, caress her corpse, then walk beside the wheeled table
she lay on as they pushed her into the fire, did not wait, watch, watch  . . .
we both know this was wrong.

Long shadows are cast by people walking out to the end of the pier:
smudged, elongated forms swarming across the sand near my body,
where I, half in shade, half sun, sit fifteen feet below the concrete bridge.
They slice by like spades digging through thin air, echoes swimming
between worlds. The word “fucking” is so satisfying—
like using a shovel to move earth. If one is as true as one’s desires imply,
then why is life as it is? If I spoke I’d be skinless/naked.

The dead change, have changed, they allow death to be death . . . there they sit,
both of them, in their respective boxes & urns, on a table, in a room
otherwise quiet as the woods.

The strangest bird just sang in mid-January. Everything is talking to each other in the natural
world—one bird sings behind me, another answers in front of me . . . all around the house
& back to death. I am naturally opposed to moving before I know where I am going—
the weight of my body carried from one room to another, the sound of air into my nostrils
& out, some old stones for eyes—the boxes of ashes fulfill my promise. At least that,
at least that small thing.

Too early, the cat came in with night in her coat. Later . . . I gave my sex
to a man who later had a bath. I shot photos of him in the bath where the light
through the bamboo cast from the window threw an otherworldly array of shapes
over his heart & belly, languid cock—his hands, floating in the hot water, cupped light
beneath his thighs. I no longer wanted him, but had him anyhow or gave him me out
of a sort of love, & now we speak of anything other than the way we both are our bodies
& are not—simultaneously, twice removed—once in first breath, once at last.  

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