Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Luxation [between frida there is no likeness]
I escort you to the precipice.
Will you fly, plummet, drip
between the air of a story?
I am the deer
wearing my arrows.
The dissolve of a monolith.
Fossil, fugue. Lost ether.
The frieze of memory
undulates the scrim
of a blur. Look how white
folds never move
in the stone wind.
The figures unrobing
in low relief. The woman
who defends the appetites
of clouds. I wear
the amnesia of youth
like a pair of green shoes.
My eyes like heels
unto which the earth
presses her rivers.
Hear my words, then
scatter. The alphabet
of benevolent pain
gives way to each
syllable. Illegible minute
hovering the ledge.
I Select My Jury Before Justice Appears
You made things up. How you felt. Who you were.
Beyond the cities and the caves you went
and hid yourself in our mouths.
We walk around repeating your hands.
We can say who is wrong and who is nothing.
We polish the sidewalks, play the lotto, turn
our mothers and our fathers into obelisks.
And we abandon our worship of history.
Lift our workhorse and smear our senses.
You made things up. How we felt.
And now nowhere is a time of feeling.
Every fool for winter’s fire.
How do you feel under the tongue?
We walk around covering our throats.
The words knife our minutes and swarm
the fruits of proven fact. Disengage the bees
and the snails. You unmade the houses we tended,
the unfinished children, the lonely tv.
There was a chance to shatter. The detour
of dying too devastating to follow.
And we look up to what? To ask for what?
Uses for Silver
I have a desire to remember how I looked
from a distance. The color of
an animal forced to embrace love.
The hunter acquires my profile. My liver.
Urges arrows inside my belly and lungs.
Near thunder I fall. I break at the wrists.
Weapons or dignity? Ardor flogged to rock.
I want to see the skeleton reverse its elegant
pressure points. The tongue staggering far
from my broken neck. You broke it twice.
Come near the implacable axis of mercy
and watch God shriek. Me? I cannot
cry for what the eyes must say.
Anti-Elegy [for troy davis and martina davis-correia]
The face of our death is unresolved. The body has been confirmed, has been made to withstand our prayers. We were not identified by our teeth (broken) or by our country (broken). No began its no/ise, its no/thing coiled, its being of no/where – these are the words we will not be. And if we are only bodies then blood alone must tell us to die. Wrangle starlings into hymns and hands that push sentences into our cages. Gold our lids with silence. The business of caretakers should be fine forever. Their nation of uncertain chambers managed by hoarse gloves. The scandal of marrow in repose.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and a photographer. She is the author of Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books), The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press), and her newest collection, Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose). Currently, Griffiths teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Please visit: www.rachelelizagriffiths.com
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