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three poems by 119 laura cronk I didn’t love you. I didn’t see you. I saw you for a moment, a shadow. There was that dinner party, but I didn’t meet you. God loves death just as much as birth and who knows how much that is. Your inner life, I didn’t know you, connected to mine. The point of it, Bitter Wit, is to rid me, Inner Life, of tenderness toward you. Cocklebur, Milkweed. Lamb’s-quarter, Wild Carrot Seed. No place for them and they grow. Poem for the Unrealized 120 ecotone Poem for a Visitor You’re turning up again. Sitting above me in a chrome chair while I’m on the floor with another woman. What are you doing here? Reminding me I’m married and it’s not even to you. Why have you gone gray? And why, when I saw you last, were you resigned to such sad work? In that dream, you had to cut the dancers as you sculpted them. They were naked on a cold beach. Gray sky, gray water, cool light sand, and pale bodies. A rush of wind, your artist’s tool, a flash of bright warm blood. Only now in this afterlife of dreaming are you unveiled. 121 author laura cronk Ghosts aren’t white. They’re not glowing. They can give counsel, just can’t spend money or touch. What we were, when we were alive together, is dust. 122 ecotone Having Encountered a Three-Personed God Disarmed, I am battered by a three-personed god, banished into the sacrament of a new body, a hut on a pond. The trinity of my body and yours has done it. My body, yours, and something else. Tell me, please, how this hut was built— Was it built in a frenzy of male and female effort? Effort, that Protestant word. ✶ You happened to take the shape so perfectly of a man that I couldn’t help but be lost in my distraction. My distraction took on spiritual proportions. I’ll say again, again, the world is going to hell in the cheapest plastic handbasket but I’m moving farther and farther away from that world. I was, I am moving toward your lips, I’m moving toward you— 123 author laura cronk You, who persuade me to forget what I rid myself of— what we— Though you shut the door on it, though I have locked myself in rooms with it. Look! I’m ensnared again with life. Mutinied, ferried, enthralled, accompanied by one who will look like you, who will look like me. ✶ I had been pent up in rooms high in towers paying penance, trying to communicate an impossible narrative to an impossible recipient. But then I shed my long skirts, my cape, my boots laced to the knee, my layers of underthings. I shed my rings and bracelets, my embroidered stripes and chevrons. Beadless, unadorned, simple, without shoes, in the absence of a believable god, I traded it all for a shift— I found the hut we had abandoned. I entered and the building was finished in a night. I fished in the pond there and made small fires. It was the air in the trees that set me with child. I did my work slowly and found myself remade. ✶ 124 ecotone Now when I return, eyes flashing, hair full, face flushed, it is that I am coming back to the world. Not to the world I was fighting, but to you, full of moon and sun. What is unweak, true. The paintings of the Spanish cathedrals are alive under my skin, the peonies of summer hang heavy when I wake, the man, earth-made man, strong as the many horses in the field, tender as the newly knitted bone, supple in half dream lies quiet when I, disarmed, go down to sleep. ...


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pp. 119-124
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