Project for a Fainting

By Brenda Shaughnessy b. 1970 Brenda Shaughnessy
Oh, yes, the rain is sorry. Unfemale, of course, the rain is
with her painted face still plain and with such pixel you’d never see

it in the pure freckling, the lacquer of her. The world
is lighter with her recklessness, a handkerchief so wet it is clear.

To you. My withered place, this frumpy home (nearer
to the body than to evening) miserable beloved. I lie tender

and devout with insomnia, perfect on the center pillow past
midnight, sick with the thought of another year

of waking, solved and happy, it has never been this way! Believe
strangers who say the end is close for what could be closer?

You are my stranger and see how we have closed. On both ends.
Night wets me all night, blind, carried.

And watermarks. The plough of the rough on the slick,
love, a tendency toward fever. To break. To soil.

Would I dance with you? Both forever and rather die.
It would be like dying, yes. Yes I would.

I have loved the slaking of your forgetters, your indifferent
hands on my loosening. Through a thousand panes of glass

not all transparent, and the temperature.
I felt that. What you say is not less than that.

Brenda Shaughnessy, “Project for a Fainting” from Interior with Sudden Joy. Copyright © 1999 by Brenda Shaughnessy.  Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1999)

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Poet Brenda Shaughnessy b. 1970

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Love, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Desire, Unrequited Love

 Brenda  Shaughnessy

Biography

Brenda Shaughnessy earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA from Columbia University. She is the author of Interior with Sudden Joy (1999), Human Dark with Sugar (2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Our Andromeda (2012). Her work has appeared in the Yale Review, the Boston Review, McSweeney’s, and Best American Poetry, among other places. With C.J. Evans, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Desire, Unrequited Love

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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