From “Coosa”

To be a bride of my own lamentation
I wear a dress not of time’s poisoned quills
but feathers of discontent — kingfishers
ghosting in cornstalks, my field of frozen flutes.
The edge of descent, digression’s highway
brings a particulate ash to my mouth,
starry metals of the meadow’s cold snap,
ravens in the sycamore scorched to black.
I follow their echo’s loop and chase.
I master the map of never, raft
its fragments, mouth the brightness of human’s
leftover snow, details of fever-clouds
where the convent dissolves in violence.
I wear the canyon like a blank eye,
lay before the never-returning light
my silhouette, fossil of the drowned town’s scroll.

Here, where your ghost is always departing
the ebb and flow of terrestrial tides,
I follow your echo’s loop and chase,
vortex streets of a cylindrical sound
infinite in its arrangements of light.
The evening veil, a partial reveal — 
how I appear to myself looking past
this fact of being underway. Each day
I stow my earthen materials
in preparation for the never-end.
In the snapshot of my dead friend, hanging
in the room where loved ones refuse return:
a gradual reduction of color.
Running out of time, neck-deep in water,
we knew no one was coming to help us
in the same way one denies language
to come from a picture. I imagine
love a revelation, not of mind — 
the blue gauze of planetary motion — 
a tone-on-tone painting of a body
floating on the sea’s shifting horizons.
It is a question of legibility.
When I became tired of depicting
poetry, I became aware of
another kind of plane, the kind
good for dwellings and their narrative escape.
Here children sit up all night by the flames — 
the orphan boy from blood-stained pottery
who singed his head and burned out both his eyes.
That was your life, a prefix for fire.
Spider will weave a ladder to your heart,
it is said, even though you are sleeping,
intoxicated by abandonment,
a bitter wind reminiscent of a wave.

In the last days of my marriage to god,
I wandered his spiraled library
to read in the dark blank imprints of trees.
Relentless navigation through the stacks
of shell-tempered mortuary offerings,
sandstone saws recovered from the caves.
I lingered on the stairs of the convent
to write these things, to recollect myself.
Around midnight the mountains returned.
The clouds dispersed into semicolons
and I with them, into a new language,
its boat temporary, invisible.
I knew I would be traveling like this
for centuries. This was my first attempt
at vanishing. I would return before
anyone noticed poems to be found
in the forest, not the mind.
There’s a canyon between this version of me
and the shadow in the corner that is mine.
I wear this canyon like a blank eye.

More Poems by Jennifer Elise Foerster