Magazine article World Literature Today

Two Poems

Magazine article World Literature Today

Two Poems

Article excerpt

How Much of Yourself Remains Within the Walls of a Home?

after Jeremy Miranda's Salt Marsh (2014)

I wanted to dive into the troubled waters of forgotten memories, haunt the house of early emotions but found it empty. I wanted to find the lingering scent of jasmine where jasmine never grew, even if it wasn't spring. Unspoken words fall heavily on the kitchen tiles: a cascade of rough-edged syllables flood the floor. My chair is glued to the table, I'm trapped within clouds preventing me from seeing how the marsh grows wider, how walls collapse, spikes and bluish-green leaves crested with plumes line the edge of the water where glasswort blushes against sea lavender.

I'd run my fingers over the red round stems, crush the purple petals under my teeth to release its essential oils. I can still see the russet tree's wavering reflections, its roots, that seemed to come down from the sky. Your body awakens each night under my fingertips, shortening the distance between my lips and your skin, until your body remembers, until the sky sinks into water, mist so thick, a hummingbird floats in minute droplets in suspension. I feel the current of the first kiss in my curls, our knees shaking.

A Bird's Song, Unraveled

after Remedios Varo's Creation of the Birds (1957)

All artists are night owls, she thinks, as circles grow wider around her eyes. Eyelids lowered, her brush, an extension of her violin-shaped heart, adds the last touches of blush to the feathers' tips. She tries to remember the right words thrown pell-mell in the folds of memory . . . memory adds layers to meaning . . . wants to retrieve numbers and signs from slumber, relive the initial moment, imagines how wingless molecules rub against each other in the copper alembic.

All it takes is a double binding broken loose to find the right combination: Only verbs are allowed. Aren't they the heart of a sentence? …

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