It’s August in New York
& my lover’s alarm
siphons me into the kitchen
as the room fills with clouds.
I don’t mind poetry, not even here,
telling you I forgot the glass bottle in the freezer
of all places, shards I’ll have to pickaxe
with a butter knife.
How did I—when?
There is no question like the body.
I collect its fragments. My little butter knife /
chip / chip / chips. Angel folds her arms
around me while I sift through blue freezer light.
Somewhere far beyond
jellyfish bob on a wave while I gather shrapnel.
My teeth chatter.
Tears polyp at the sudden thought,
Thanks to this double-edged salt,
by the time I’m fifty, will I remember
anything at all?
The butter knife speaks: yield.
Who needs memories when you have
arms around your waist?
I wed each wave
as it hits me.
from Odes to LithiumFind more by Shira Erlichman at the library
Copyright © 2019 Shira Erlichman
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.