she ended up being no one in particular

The Invisible Person
James Laughlin

Life kept rolling her over
like a piece of driftwood

in the surf of an angry sea
she was intelligent and beau-

tiful and well-off she made
friends easily yet she wasn’t

able to put the pieces to-
gether into any recognizable

shape     she wasn’t sure who
she wanted to be     so she

ended up being no one in par-
ticular     she made herself al-

most invisible     she was the
person you loved so much who

really wasn’t there at all.

Advertisements

that dark process to accept it as a beautiful process

Lines Depicting Simple Happiness
Peter Gizzi

The shine on her buckle took precedence in sun
Her shine, I should say, could take me anywhere
It feels right to be up this close in tight wind
It feels right to notice all the shiny things about you
About you there is nothing I wouldn’t want to know
With you nothing is simple yet nothing is simpler
About you many good things come into relation
I think of proofs and grammar, vowel sounds, like
A is for knee socks, E for panties
I is for buttondown, O the blouse you wear
U is for hair clip, and Y your tight skirt
The music picks up again, I am the man I hope to be
The bright air hangs freely near your newly cut hair
It is so easy now to see gravity at work in your face
Easy to understand time, that dark process
To accept it as a beautiful process, your face

aloneness is the first hygienic measure

I’ll Open the Window
Anna Swir

Our embrace lasted too long.
We loved right down to the bone.
I hear the bones grind, I see
our two skeletons.

Now I am waiting
till you leave, till
the clatter of your shoes
is heard no more. Now, silence.

Tonight I am going to sleep alone
on the bedclothes of purity.
Aloneness
is the first hygienic measure.
Aloneness
will enlarge the walls of the room,
I will open the window
and the large, frosty air will enter,
healthy as tragedy.
Human thoughts will enter
and human concerns,
misfortune of others, saintliness of others.
They will converse softly and sternly.

Do not come anymore.
I am an animal
very rarely.

to be noticed, even

(Amen, amen, I say to you. Spot on.)


Not Doing Something Wrong Isn’t the Same as Doing Something Right
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

In my defense, my forgotten breasts. In my defense, the hair
no one brushed from my face. In my defense, my hips.

Months earlier, I remember thinking that sex was a ship
       retreating
on the horizon. I could do nothing but shove my feet in the sand.

I missed all the things loneliness taught me: eyes that follow you
crossing a room, hands that find their home on you. To be
       noticed, even.

In my defense, his hands. In my defense, his arms. In my defense,
how when we just sat listening to each other breathe, he said,
       This is enough.

My body was a house I had closed for the winter. It shouldn’t have
       been
that difficult, empty as it was. Still, I stared hard as I snapped off
       the lights.

My body was a specter that haunted me, appearing when I
       stripped
in the bathroom, when I crawled into empty beds, when it rained.

My body was abandoned construction, restoration scaffolding
that became permanent. My body’s unfinished became its
       finished.

So in my defense, when he touched me, the lights of my body
       came on.
In my defense, the windows were thrown open. In my defense,
       spring.

hieroglyph heart, etched deep with history’s lists, things to do

Heart
Dorianne Laux

The heart shifts shape of its own accord—
from bird to ax, from pinwheel
to budded branch. It rolls over in the chest,
a brown bear groggy with winter, skips
like a child at the fair, stopping in the shade
of the fireworks booth, the fat lady’s tent,
the corn dog stand. Or the heart
is an empty room where the ghosts of the dead
wait, paging through magazines, licking
their skinless thumbs. One gets up, walks
through a door into a maze of hallways.
Behind one door a roomful of orchids,
behind another, the smell of burned toast.
The rooms go on and on: sewing room
with its squeaky treadle, its bright needles,
room full of file cabinets and torn curtains,
room buzzing with a thousand black flies.
Or the heart closes its doors, becomes smoke,
a wispy lie, curls like a worm and forgets
its life, burrows into the fleshy dirt.
Heart makes a wrong turn.
Heart locked in its gate of thorns.
Heart with its hands folded in its lap.
Heart a blue skiff parting the silk of the lake.
It does what it wants, takes what it needs, eats
when it’s hungry, sleeps when the soul shuts down.
Bored, it watches movies deep into the night,
stands by the window counting the streetlamps
squinting out one by one.
Heart with its hundred mouths open.
Heart with its hundred eyes closed.
Harmonica heart, heart of tinsel,
heart of cement, broken teeth, redwood fence.
Heart of bricks and boards, books stacked
in devoted rows, their dusty spines
unreadable. Heart
with its hands full.
Hieroglyph heart, etched deep with history’s lists,
things to do. Near-sighted heart. Club-footed heart.
Hard-headed heart. Heart of gold, coal.
Bad juju heart, singing the low down blues.
Choir boy heart. Heart in a frumpy robe.
Heart with its feet up reading the scores.
Homeless heart, dozing, its back against the Dumpster.
Cop-on-the-beat heart with its black billy club,
banging on the lid.

you only have to left the soft animal of your body love what it loves

Wild Geese
Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.