Boston Review

Seattle, Third and Pike

To be at someone’s mercy is dialectical damage.
—Gillian Rose, Love’s Work



After my reading, on the night-gleaming street belonging
to the drunk and belligerent, I a woman was
left. The woman I loved turned her face away and then
followed her nose up the steep cross-street, refusing angrily.

Later, in the flourescent ferry-waiting room, she left again
when I sat beside her. Nonetheless, I had to drive her
home. Before she left again she sat on the side of my bed.
After, there were phone calls across the continent
while I grew sicker and sicker still. Then I refused.
“Desperately” is an adverb accurate enough for two.

That was in spring. Now, fall. Such damage, overall.
I’ve used it, I find, to scale, rescind, un-limn, unleaf myself.

A difficult transformation from limbed, finned, to indeterminate:
something again embryonic, that dependent, skinned and inarticulate,
in form a worm, a Daphne’s broken limb. . . . Where before I could swim
(and always did, fiercely up), now I am at the mercy of the merciful
tide’s doubling dream of Never-arrive when Arrive was ever the stream
I climbed, christened mine and home by something in my blood.

Unable, now, my self to move, past agreeing with the scheme,
in an ocean, I am a stream that was, that never wanted what it was:
Good. So I have willed my unwilling, violently. Blood’s
apology’s blood. My testament: to your No my Yes;
to your Gone, my Left: through a glass oppositely. Busily. So.

Still, the wish for congruency. For some other to come
to know.   


—Liz Waldner

Liz Waldner’s most recent books of poetry are Self and Simulacra, Dark Would (the missing person), and Etym(bi)ology.

Originally published in the April/May 2003 issue of Boston Review

 




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