The carnivorous ground would not suffice
as holy vessel, for all that scattered,
a gluttonous swell of hibernating
earth worms and river toads, the mud itself
an unwelcome choir, this could not be true:
her toes now anonymous white ember,
her legs indistinguishable from skull
fragments, her new soul pitched to seraphic
decibels outside of human longing.
I woke up gnawing at my lonely wrist
to find her in my DNA, entwined
in muscle and bone, drowned in my creaking
blood, like lost rabbits who could not escape
winter floods. You ask me why Forensic
Files, CSI, Criminal Minds, St. Jude
phone-athon, nightly news with lampshade sewn
from human flesh, I say she has no rock,
no flowered scar, I don’t know where she’s gone,
that I am a connoisseur of disease,
of intricate violent encounters, flocks
of sparrows, murders of crows who whisper
my secret name when I skate the frozen
road, of Neil Armstrong’s first daughter destroyed
by a rare and tentacled and brutal
form of cancer, and I do not question
what he saw when he stepped onto the moon.
She wasn’t there, I say, not anywhere
in the miles of indecipherable
space, he returned to ocean, to tarred earth,
never in the stars did he find her face.
About the writer:
Beth Gordon received her MFA from American University a long time ago and was not heard from again until 2017 when her poems began to appear in numerous journals including Into the Void, Outlook Springs, Drunk Monkeys, Verity La and After Happy Hour Review. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She is also Poetry Editor of Gone Lawn.
Image: “Visions” from The Individual series by Deborah Norton. Oil and mixed media on Masonite. 24 x 24 inches. Norton is best known for her layered mixed media oil paintings. Inspired by expressionism including the “combines” of Rauschenberg and the raw figurative paintings of Schiele, Norton experiments with translucent paint layers, color and mixed media to expose life and its’ always changing expression. Deborah Norton is O:JA&L’s “Featured Artist” for March 2019.