May 2010 - Comments Off on Limerance


Allie Simmons '10

I. palimpsest
a parchment from which writing has
whispered those adjectives immediately yours (capable,
understated, the smile – I know) and
nudged what is left to uncover,
to pull from sea sand, to blow with salt breath, to discover

with new-comer’s worshipful hands, find
the part other long-haired girls
like me have touched and tampered
until it has
been partially erased to make room for another text

II. nihilarian
a person who deals
the tarot knows the order of things, the
syntax of coincidence. you and I met
without foretelling – between the entries on
‘astrology’ and ‘astronomy’ – and
we have been spangled with stardust
from three dollar vials, with salt
from upset shakers,
with things lacking importance

III. tenebrism
the use of extreme
happiness must be guarded. a story
with a happy ending, you say,
will not tell truths. all of us – in our
secret rib-shadowed cores, dark
and wet and sweet – want
contrasts of light and dark

IV. achloropsia
made a lover of me. my passion is barefoot
red; yours, baby-blue soft. where
I see you do not, where you feel I am
tasting. but we agree the magnolias
were bruise-white; we both nod
with respect to green

V. rachis
spine or axis of
tiny tender things
slim as nettles and needles
and easy to put beneath skin.
I have paid for it from others, have
asked for the needles to bear ink
to my body’s seams but
every coupling is to me a tattoo
and the permanent acts scareme
more than the ethereal
body; in order I feel:
a feather; the spinal chord

VI. achene
a small one-seeded
body: thick-skinned, weak-hearted, tired
of perennial blooming. you want me to
plant with you, to grow new
things in the muscle’s dark
soil but my seasalt
has made me too thirsty to bear
fruit or naked seed of plant

VII. acescence
becoming sour; souring;
reversing the colors of skin; giving
new adjectives to old sounds. I tell you
my nouns are my own; you answer
in the infinitive
and your clauses grow duller
as the color
of my vocabulary
grows paler,
turning of milk

VIII. carphology
the delirious fumbling with
the texts I have consulted
on the subject of you: you
do not like loud yellow; you touch
without purpose; you heal
slowly, with time and blood thinners. also
your fingers are slow to relax
when you’ve been tugging too hard and what
will I do with these lessons?
they were taught from you to me, so they will not
do for other
bed clothes in fever

IX. sirocco
a humid southerly wind
is all I need; that is what I really learned.
a callused hand
with a mis-healed thumb would be just
nice enough, a dark
stubble would hurt
in the proper amounts, but the wind
is all that is needed, just enough to whisper
the lichens in the tangled oaks and make
the salty ocean breath come calling across
the low-lands
accompanied by rain

Published by: in Poetry, Volume 66, Volume 66: Issue 2

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