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

blackbird upon a puddle

Translation: Poetry by Esther Ramón

ESTHER RAMÓN
Two of those brief animals / that populated the branches / and the furniture made useless / by humidity and neglect. / They were separated / From time that burns as it passes, / from this insignificance, / from the feeding cycle, / my desires in the shredded remains

Mogadishu: a man holds an assault rifle while people walk by, with a crumbling building in the background

November 2021 Poetry Feature

ALDO AMPARÁN
Nights alone I tread / I drag the cloak // through the mud of the old  / municipal gardens / ancient heirloom my family’s ghosts // exhale / between its woven thread / of silk & cotton / some old // cousin too distant / to have known me // in his life speaks / broken Spanish...

hashem beck

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Wait

ZEINA HASHEM BECK
I take photos of the skin on my thigh, the side of my breast, / my arm, my calf, my belly, & send them to friends. See? / They reassure & recommend doctors. My mother suggests / baking soda mixed with oil or water, rosewater perhaps, perhaps / taking a cool bath.