So you’ve found me again. Our story is as riddled
with clichés as the moth that was drawn to the marigold
and rose boutonnière I pinned to the beloved’s lapel,
and was stung by the wasp I hid in the bud.
Such was the wonder. Such was the little death
that meant nothing to us then. Beauty was in the eye
of the hurricane, the owl’s pinion mid-flight, the cliff’s
lip, the newborn’s unfurled fist. Eyes were the windows
to the uterus, where I carried his second dead child
into surgery because it wouldn’t leave my body on its own.
I blamed you. I blamed God. I blamed the Michigan air
and the toxins that were surely in the water table.
Absence made the heart grow weaker, wetter, until
it was past ripe and rotting in its basket. All’s fair in love
and bodies too young for angels to wrestle. Nothing
stopped the lion’s mouth. It ate the whole menagerie.
Bushes refused to tumble down the mountain
burning with a thousand tongues that all stuttered
I am, I am, so we were left without a vision. Our love
was blinding, blistering, unburied, healing slow.
Traci Brimhall is the author of Our Lady of the Ruins (forthcoming from W.W. Norton), selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press), winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Slate, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She was the 2008-09 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and currently teaches at Western Michigan University, where she is a doctoral associate and King/Chávez/Parks Fellow.
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