- Reclining Nude, c. 1977, Romare Bearden
Not turquoise: sea-blue, lithe blessing curved heavy-lipped to tomb, to teach how shelter devastates; our bed swallowed, the last memory in the antique wood spent, day spent sweat-drowned; not gorges, Lucifer Falls carved as though with a ruler, straight-edged, from the rock: —bracketed: the landscape opens: reveals a mouth wide enough to walk through penetrable as] the body [history; —no, not the ocean rising] blue in here [thick as a castle wall: you are my wave, but your wet words; but that she might take you in, that she could [End Page 1031] divide herself, accept you. Beauty: the split body: the spirit: a blue pool: just beneath this existence ] . . . a neighborhood I am the darkness of . . . [ I find myself: between: here: an ear pressed to] presto! [the ground the sky: even over that line I could hear her holding her breath; I could hear her tears; husband, I swear, I loved her too. Oh Durër, dare print me in your planisphere: I would ink the page. Yes, I possess all of this] blue in here [space.
Lyrae Van-Clief Stefanon is author of Black Swan, a collection of poems. Her poems have also appeared in African American Review, Crab Orchard Review, Rattapallax, Shenandoah, and Callaloo. She teaches English at Cornell University.