Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Suppose meaning arrives like winter. The scarlet
hawthorn clarified under its crest of snow, a season’s
sentence, refining—what will you keep? What won’t you do
for love? Suppose it takes the longest night to see.
Suppose ice-sealed banks along the Kolyma River
retain not only the campion’s white lace flowers—
seeds simmering 30,000 years to bloom again beneath
a Moscow laboratory’s false sun—but also a flight of stairs
revealing the secret bunker where Mussolini held, for the last
time, his pale Claretta; also Hipparchus’s vast, observable
stars. Suppose Gwendolyn Brooks’s handwritten recipe
for Orange Cake floating in permafrost. The first breath
Eve took, rib-pulled into Eden. Alongside, alongside.
Suppose that we emerge into ourselves, stepping from the veil
of a selfish teenage torment that never spins off
early enough to announce to the world, to a father, before
he vanishes in the next room, “I am not only
I.” Suppose, implied in Greek, in stone, above the temple
at Delphi, that knowledge requires a journey.
Suppose below the orlop deck the ship carries not only malarial
chills but girls, tucked behind casks of olive oil, who survived
worse windowless rooms, the nightly . . . . To the creamed
mixture, fold alternatively dry ingredients and liquids. Suppose
the bottom layer can be crooked if the frosting is thick enough
to hold. Suppose I’ll try the weighted blanket.
A thousand microfiber beads. “Earthing,” some call
this, cortisol slowed. Make yourself an offering
to sleep, is what came scripted on the blanket’s violet tag.
Suppose offerings of gold leaf. Sunburnt mirth,
and myrrh. Suppose the new thought the forest clearing
becomes, appearing light-strung from the over-
growth. Suppose you make an offering of that.
A sublayer of carbon slumber, and Patsy’s tralelalela,
and a little crumb of madeleine, which will never decompose.  

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