Measure for Measure, October 2019
from nancy’s charcoaled hands
look – you can see from the street below. we have her rusted poppies on our wall
in their olive stems i see her twig arms
they shoot bullets through canvas and writhe through still air
her tapered fingers ink the fiery blossoms
holes left by tungsten cartridges gape at their centers
I have seen goats in bonnets etched intestine from her downtown room
she warms our eggshell mantel above the hearth
we have her poppies and her bleeding green
grocery monster somewhere
how odd how warm he makes me how warm he makes the the room
– Sylvie Claire Epstein
In time they shortened everything for me.
It began with sleeves and hair, the edge of my fan,
which grazed the watery dirt.
It spread to my school, my meals, my lengthy plans to flee. When they saw that I danced, that too was banned– In time, they shortened it for me.
It creeped upon me slowly. I was stricken and alert. I kept a wobbly pen in hand, which grazed the watery dirt.
They cut apart my songs, my prized philosophy And everybody that I met, they flowed away from me. They shortened it for me.
I’d like to say a word or two in praise of all of this But there waits the ghoul on my desk, clock and knife in hand In the watery dirt.
In time, everything was shortened for me. In the watery dirt.
– Carly Roth