Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2019  Vol. 18 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview

Diorama (trapper standing over a young woman in a blue dress)

The first time I saw her, wandering around out in the snow miles from town,
I had to push her on the ground to wake her up, snap her out of it.

She just lay there, blonde. I brushed the hair off her face
to have a look. One pupil had dilated,
and the other looked as if it never would. She seemed cobbled together
from different women doing different things at different times of day.
She was beautiful and required magic to fix her.

I thought maybe I could make a salve, smudge it under her nose.
She would maybe wretch, but then get up and walk away.

She was too much like the pale, naked girl I always expect
to walk out of a stand of birch trees.

I hadn’t eaten much in three days, hadn’t used my voice in weeks.
Maybe I was a stand of birch trees and she’d walked out of me.

I kept forgetting what I had and hadn’t done to her,
what I feared and what I regretted. I had to keep looking at her face,
like it was a timepiece. She wasn’t moving,
and the moment tucked so far into itself it was becoming a shell.
I grayed inside it like a worm.  

return to top