by emily wilson
I. For a man who has taken off his,
you are very interested in mine.
The ring of my grandmother,
its turquoise eye to which you pressed lips, slipped off at the shore, lidded
with a braid of sterling silver.
Your first experience with divinity occurred when you broke into your grandfather’s office, stole Hebrew scrolls which read for those who are
II. I want to define your body
by its synonyms: rip tide civil twilight;
present mine in return:
milk teeth sugar sore. What have we learned of intimacy?
to free a firefly
from a web, one must
rotate counterclockwise. Atlantic pier Ferris wheels and a floodlit dusk: suspended
spokes, each bulb a body ensnared. Latin for you are being carried. You are
I. August is a clever alchemist
,forced to amputate its own foliage.
When I tell you I fear
blindness ,I mean I fear my body
to reflect light.
I mean soon we will have to pay for satiating the wingspan
of our hunger.
II. We make rituals
of night. I press the blistered
white of your palm. Love
,you whisper ,don't
drain the storm
from my skin.
Teeth to jaw and I ask ,Please ,when the mapmakers find my bones
let them resemble a constellation.
I. Offstage you practice photography:
insects itching around golden tickseeds.
Blooms with no
hunger cause such swelling? You pixelate these images,
project them on stage. Everything in still frame dehydrates.
II. Long exposure of firefly flight,
you believe, will reveal fluorescent letters,
language in luminescence.
All I see: gilded
Silence. Shutter speed.
We are all guilty of imperfect attempts to mirror stars; grant the lightning bugs a private failure. To be ashamed of the color of this thirst.
I. Rotation is a ritual
in forgiveness. When we make love
,I pretend my body
is the concrete beneath dancing
You lay the last syllable of my name
underwater and teach it to float.
II. September seeps brilliant
and bored into our hotel room.
Bronze as the inked
airplane drifting over the wrist
hand. We use the same devices to record music
as we do the messages of our dead. I worry this does not frighten you.
I. When the wind hibernates
in caves of crisp and chill
,your circuit is over.
Tread worn down on tour bus tires, the constant spinning of vowels
webs my skin in shivers.
A valve is a vow in pressure. I've found the octave
at which your name becomes a spell.
II. My last words to you are
in a dying language of short wave lengths
,saturating the film of your frame
in silver nitrates. My abdomen bloats in bioluminescent loneliness.
back into its orbit near your knuckle ,elliptical and eclipsed.
Emily reads "(cold light)"
Emily Wilson is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington as a graduate teaching assistant. Her poetry, translations, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Asymptote, Bustle, Green Mountains Review, PANK, Passages North, and The Raleigh Review, among others. Nominated for inclusion in the Best New Poets series and for an AWP Intro Journals Award, she received the 2013-2014 Kert Green fellowship, was first runner-up in the 2014 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and won the 2012 Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize. Follow her @Emmy_Golightly.