by Laura Marris
When I broke my phone
I took yours, old maybe,
but working, since you almost never used it.
I found your messages inside, all from me
will call soon, hello, hello!
Idiot girl—how could you speak like that to the dead?
Walking, swimming a little.
A cold river on the edge of a marsh.
I can see you, in blue swim trunks,
your hesitant breaststroke
never putting your face below water.
It’s dawn, maybe there are cormorants
voiceless voiceless going down in silence.
In spring you remember yourself as you were,
touching the objects in your father’s office—
A breeze, a child reaching for the paperweight,
a prism of leaves in crystal,
a lifting of words on white paper.
Behind the desk
the gifts strangers give you
when you cry in public—the long knife
of a palm leaf folded into a flower,
a rabbit to place on your bed
like a doll—
photographs in a box, places you traveled,
a collection of fountains
flowing down an empty street,
some lindens perhaps, street vendors
thickening the air with salt.
Now, at the window
the sun rises like a slit bubble
the stars sea anemones,
slipping in a touched sky—
Spring, and you remember yourself as you are,
the grass in the field is underwater.
Horses graze, rib cages lifting
like tides of bone.
Their breath is white as a page,
the pages of an autobiography,
in a distance that doesn’t exist—
the quick limits of the child,
vanishing into the light.