Song for the Last Act

Now that I have your face by heart, I look
Less at its features than its darkening frame
Where quince and melon, yellow as young flame,
Lie with quilled dahlias and the shepherd’s crook.
Beyond, a garden. There, in insolent ease
The lead and marble figures watch the show
Of yet another summer loath to go
Although the scythes hang in the apple trees.

Now that I have your face by heart, I look.

Now that I have your voice by heart, I read
In the black chords upon a dulling page
Music that is not meant for music’s cage,
Whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed.
The staves are shuttled over with a stark
Unprinted silence. In a double dream
I must spell out the storm, the running stream.
The beat’s too swift. The notes shift in the dark.

Now that I have your voice by heart, I read.

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see
The wharves with their great ships and architraves;
The rigging and the cargo and the slaves
On a strange beach under a broken sky.
O not departure, but a voyage done!
The bales stand on the stone; the anchor weeps
Its red rust downward, and the long vine creeps
Beside the salt herb, in the lengthening sun.

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see.

– Louise Bogan

It Might Be Lonelier

It might be lonelier
Without the Loneliness –
I’m so accustomed to my Fate –
Perhaps the Other – Peace –

Would interrupt the Dark –
And crowd the little Room –
Too scant – by Cubits – to contain
The Sacrament – of Him –

I am not used to Hope –
It might intrude upon –
Its sweet parade – blaspheme the place –
Ordained to Suffering –

It might be easier
To fail – with Land in Sight –
Than gain – My Blue Peninsula –
To perish – of Delight –

– Emily Dickinson

Mantra to Overcome Depression

Vitamin D. Sunlight. Go
outside. Get a good night

of sleep. Not too good.

Not shades drawn forever
good. Not like you used to.

Open the windows.

Buy more houseplants.
Breathe. Meditate. (One day,

you will no longer be

afraid of being alone
with your thoughts.)

Exercise. Actually exercise

instead of just googling it.
Eat well. Cook for yourself.

Organize your closet, the

garage. Drink plenty of water
and repeat after me:

I am not a problem

to be solved. Repeat after me:
I am worthy I am worthy I am

neither the mistake nor

the punishment. Forget to take
vitamins. Let the houseplant die.

Eat spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Shave your head. Forget
this poem. It doesn’t matter–

there is no wrong way

to remember the grace of your
own body; no choice

that can unmake itself.

There is only now, here,
look: you are already

forgiven.

– Sierra DeMulder

The World Before Them

Actually, it was sweet and heavy with juice
and we passed it back and forth, a river
of nectar running down her chin and mine
until we were full and our faces shone
and could not tell receiver from giver.
I loved its weight in my hand, bruised
just a little from having fallen
from those high, green limbs. And we took its seed
and planted more when we left that place
so we’d always be sure to have its taste
upon our tongues. That was her idea, freed
us from worrying about the future. And all in
all, we didn’t. We ate them to the core.
It’s as though we’d been provided for.

– Steve Kronen

A Rendition of Autumn

There was a point in our lives
where if I slit my throat, it was you who would bleed.
You say goodbye too often in autumn.
Tonight the last leaf fell off the tree beyond my bedroom window,
and I could hear the sound of branches aching for love to wrap
around their leaves like limbs.
It was three a.m. in the last stretch of May.
Springtime calls for heartbeat symphonies
and when we pressed our bodies together they coincided like
chords, like staccatos when I ran my hand down
your spine.
Fog is one of the top reasons that drivers get killed each year.
In the backseat of my car we almost caused
the hundredth casualty,
but all I got were bruises in the shape of apologies
along my thighs.
There are certain people who leave scars when they go.
Tonight I cut my thumb while I was peeling an apple.
I thought of you.

— Shinji Moon