Joanna Smith Rakoff
And yet we were after transformation
in any and all of its guises. The lace cuff
dangled ever so rudely after your lover’s removal.
It was French. Like all good things
were Spanish — the red flower in your hair
signifying an alignment with the wise
and quite possibly savage peoples
who produce such extraordinary pottery.
Give back my kimono. Even the bed
has exhausted your long illness. The whorl
of rouge and mustard stains? Residue
from the spices we used to ascertain the cure.
Self-Portrait as Pre-Raphaelite Photograph
Imagine your breath congealing
silver. Imagine the chemic
behind your glow. We are not always wanting
to be touched. My brain doubles, deposits its other
self at the base of my neck. I am more than body —
the atmosphere around me — not Ophelia but
the water of her silt-clogged death — low trees,
wild trim on the riverbank. This hair,
abundant thistle, each thread an ion in
its silver carapace. Imagine stitching
your gown medieval, the details of stillness —
an hour in the shutter, in the water — viscous rush
of silver, vapor of my home.