poem31 May 2020 05:19 pm
Pablo Picasso, 1902-03, Femme accroupie, Crouching Woman (Woman Sitting, with Hood)

Jennifer Crow

I still had hope, in the brief bright nights
before the faery mound opened
and spat you out. It is possible to be patient
with a memory, to sit quietly
with that empty place in the room. Alone,
I painted your image on my days,
until the damned coughed you up again,
blinking, into the world’s shining eye.
What can I do now, with the tattered remnants
of you? What can I do with a love that flutters
like a broken-winged bird in a cage, unfit
even for sacrifice? 
                                  And for all that, I find
I cannot release your empty shell,
cannot leave it on a beach for someone else
to find and cherish. I cover the mirror
and sweep the wreckage of my old life
to the door, but the crooked shadow
you’ve become stretches a little longer
every evening, and my own heart shrinks,
a once healthy organ collapsing
under the weight. If I could hold you,
soul and body—if I could pull you
from this living death . . . But you are no longer mine,
even as you grind the last shreds of my hope
beneath your heel, unthinking, your gaze
fixed on a distant hill.








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