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Corpse's Lullaby, and: Golden Mean
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Corpse's Lullaby

How long would it take to wrap my lover's body in red string?
         How many skeins and how numb the bending fingers when done?
                   How long would it take to weave my hair between the hairs of his body?

I could not give him a liver or a kidney, a lung or a tooth.
         Like a lump of payment between us, I gave him nothing
                   to record, nothing of note. I gave him nothing in the shape
of an aorta, sliced from my chest with a sure and delicate motion.
         I gave him the nothing that fell like blown cotton from the sky and disappeared.

It took years to dismantle our house together, with each plank to sliver the planes
         down into fine and bendable vines, years to turn the house from something solid
                   in to something woven and curved, a set of abstract and fleshy haunches
in wood. There, across the prairie, rising from the peat, it stands. My love is my love
         and he moves through the spaces I left open in the weaving. He returns
                   to the nothing I made him and lies down there on the idea of my body.

Golden Mean

The dead cat, the rabbit carcass aloft.
         Hanging over the fence, the jagged leaves
                   between the lamps of golden fruit—
a wedding, a wake, a wakefulness.
         Along the roads of Vietnam / Iraq, sound sensors
                   planted in the war register
nothing they were supposed to—perhaps
         a migration of birds, perhaps
                   a storm coming from the mountains;
meanwhile the armies march and recede,
         the men make percussion on the ground
                   with their bodies.
We dust the oranges with pesticide
         that bees feather over the flowers;
                   they drop like swollen fruit,
honey stuck in their bellies—A ducked chin,
         a V of hair in the back, we watch
                   the photos for signs of life:
the act of unconcealing—a watchfulness and ticking.
         I trade three oranges for the bayonet,
                   melt the sword down to a ring,
use the wood for a stake our tree will climb.
         The fruit hangs over the fence
                   from the neighbor's yard where they
poison bees and play the most beautiful music.
         We bury the dead cat, we cover
                   our faces in the blood of the rabbit.
To understand what love has made of us—
         golden, jagged, and swollen—
                   we drape our bodies across the fences;
we climb more deeply into the light of the sun.

Sasha West  

Sasha West's poems have appeared in Third Coast, The Journal, and Callaloo. Her first book, Failure and I Bury the Body, won the 2012 National Poetry Series Open Competition and is forthcoming this fall from Harper Perennial. She and her husband live in Austin, Texas, where she teaches at the University of Texas's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Copyright © 2013 Louisiana State University Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Sasha West. "Corpse's Lullaby, and: Golden Mean." Southern Review 49.3 (2013): 496-497. Project MUSE. Web. 18 Jul. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
West, S.(2013). Corpse's Lullaby, and: Golden Mean. Southern Review 49(3), 496-497. Louisiana State University Press. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Sasha West. "Corpse's Lullaby, and: Golden Mean." Southern Review 49, no. 3 (2013): 496-497. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed July 18, 2013).
T1 - Corpse's Lullaby, and: Golden Mean
A1 - Sasha West
JF - Southern Review
VL - 49
IS - 3
SP - 496
EP - 497
PY - 2013
PB - Louisiana State University Press
SN - 2168-5541
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_review/v049/49.3.west.html
N1 - Volume 49, Number 3, Summer 2013
ER -


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