To Define

By LAURIE ROSENBLATT

To settle while trying to say what cannot be said
precisely. As in. We were not entirely finished. 

So. Love. To travel the slick road we scattered with salt. To try
to leave our sweepings under the rug. Moments 

of collision, at times, our only contact. Death a near-miss.
Then a few more years earned by the skin of our teeth.

Roasted chicken I hated but you loved. Another truce
we sought though never found. Difficult to define

our meaning when we disagreed or I digressed.
If the rain falls and falls it may mean 

my tires will hydro-plane on water. Or. That my windows
will be washed clear. It may simply be 

the patter song of being without you that goes on and on.
We lied to protect each other. So. To settle in cells

built from false wishes. To become lonely, tapped-out
without further possibility. To say so long 

and believe it is not forever. So. Flesh of my flesh, I am here
in the house without amends among our leavings. 

No resolution no forgiveness. To define the essential nature
of haunting, these properties of mind encompass 

entire cities. To determine, to lay bare memories unshared.
To lay it all out.

[Purchase Issue 18 here.]

Laurie Rosenblatt is the author of one full-length book of poetry, In Case, and two chapbooks: Blue and A Trapdoor, A Rupture, Something with Kinks. Her collaboration with the painter Richard Raiselis, Cloud 10, was produced by Gallery NAGA in Boston in 2012. Individual poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, Salamander, The Common, Harvard Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and elsewhere. She is an MFA student at the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.

To Define

Related Posts

Photograph of a door in a brick wall from Joost Markerink on Flickr

March 2020 Poetry Feature: Frances Richey

FRANCES RICHEY
Two good sized dogs with him. Princess and Baby. / When he brought them out they walked so close / together, they looked like one starving animal / with two heads. In the summer he left his door open. / It was dark in there, but I could see / roaches crawling on the walls.

Soldiers

February 2020 Poetry Feature: Victoria Kelly

VICTORIA KELLY
This is not a corsage or dinner party / kind of love; this is a hard love, / a mining rubies in Greenland kind / of love, out of rocks / uncovered by melting ice, the terrain sparse // and unexplored; there are no galas, no gazebos / here, no indolent lovers on sofas...

Excerpt from BATTLE DRESS

KAREN SKOLFIELD
Perhaps with a desk between, / some chaste space, the recruiter leaning / forward, warm bodies on the other side. / Of the teenagers present / one will lie about her age, / one will eat bananas to make weight, / one pull herself from small-town quicksand. / Lace the hands behind the head...