When I visit hell I carry a paper girl with me
As currency. Black minidress with white tabs
That fold over her shoulders.
A demolition after my own heart.
The hostess searches my bag at the door.
She confiscates my red marker,
My syringe filled with mortar & bricks,
& threatens to banish me if I am heard
Listing the names of flowers.
She shows me to a table where my past lover
Sits by himself. His eyes are shifty & seductive
As spring flowers. He is the one who taught me
Always to have a second rasp of voice
Behind my voice. I am grateful.
My eyes are accurate as green canoes.
He tells me stories of explorers
In undersea caves. The ones that go for miles.
Each time he touches me,
The sky drops fifty feet. I tell him
The three main ways I don’t want to die.
I tell him I’d like to live in a lighthouse.
He doesn’t seem to know when I’m lying.
He takes a cigarette without asking, & asks
Where my better half is.
It will not break me.
Forsythia, oncidium, daisy, a light tingle
On my shoulders as if I were just out of reach
Of an invisible whip’s crack.
Sweetheart: a miniature of the original, as in roses.
Whisper forget-me-not & see where it gets you.
You don’t know if you’re coming or going.
When I come to you it will be
From a great distance & it will be likely
That I unwind a spool of wire
Behind me, somewhere connected to something
I planted in my sleep.
I’ve postponed spring for now
& look forward to the summer.
I see the bride in everyone.
Time-lapse clouds roll overhead.
I make lists just to get the feel for
Crossing things off.
Inject a house into the horizon, inject a secret
Passage, a secret room, a waterwheel
Of jealousies attached to the house,
A fire far in the backyard, large enough
So the nearing boats will have to choose.
Something is wrong.
In the end, aren’t there always stars?
What is missing is the porch.
Copyright © 2020 Amy Woolard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.