My skin fluoresced. I hypnotized trees.
The orphans followed me around town,
drunk on my pain. I ate only my own
hunger, gave off a scent like bitter oranges
or chlorine. Loss left me strangely whole,
as if my sadness, were it strong enough,
could turn your ship around. That was back
when I aged. Now, like an astronomer
who seeks no first causes, but only to map
the connections pinned out over the sea,
I want to diagram the light that shines out
through the holes you pricked into me."
— Maureen Thorson, in “Apples to Oranges”
— Robert Hass in an excerpt from “Meditation at Lagunitas”
…I’ll not be cordial
there is nothing that
distracts me music is
only a crossword puzzle
do you know how it is
when you are the only
passenger if there is a
place further from me
I beg you do not go.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned."
— Edna St. Vincent Mallay in an excerpt from “Dirge Without Music”
— Jeanette Winterson in “Written on the Body”
Screw poetry, it’s you I want,
your taste, rain
on you, mouth on your skin.
Margaret Atwood in “Late Night”
It’s about the blood
banging in the body
and the brain
lolling in its bed
like a happy baby.
At your touch, the nerve
that volatile spook tree
vibrates. The lungs
take up their work
with a giddy vigor.
Tremors in the joints
in the canister of sugar.
The coil of ribs,
heats up, begins
to glow. Come