When I gave birth to my daughter,
you sent a postcard of Gwyneth Paltrow
and her mother, taken by Annie Leibovitz.
In the photo, Blythe Danner spoons her daughter,
hands cinched about the waist she made in her body.
Gwyneth’s eyes are downcast in ecstasy.
I thought you’d enjoy this touching
mother-daughter scene, was all you wrote.
My stone-faced husband couldn’t understand
why I sobbed for days after, remembering
how much you’d make me laugh:
performing Mr. Roboto in your kitchen
after cooking a dinner of lentils
on your electric hot plate,
teaching me wrestling moves in the empty
living rooms of our graduate school apartments,
your body pinning mine every time.
And how, when I told you I was marrying him,
you warned me not to, because men
after war were never the same.
How they closed up their hearts
in the pine coffins of their bodies.
To Be Done with Desire: After Seeing You in Boston
Banishing love isn’t a fix. Corydon & Alexis Redux, D.A. Powell
And yet, here we are
mid-thirties with our bellies slumping.
You describe yourself as sickly, withered,
no longer the young college wrestler
who took me out for ethnic food
on payday. And me?
I’ve grown more robust
with time, my hips spill over,
take more than their share.
Thick swatches of gray cloak my temples.
No more long red fingernails
tapping the bulbs of wine glasses,
no more lilting laughter
late into the night.
After all the years between our former selves
and now, even now, how you’ve grown pale,
your reading glasses mark the bridge of your nose,
sweaters hang loose on your shoulders
that have stooped over books in libraries
all these years, even now I still want
what I wanted then. Maybe even more.
Now that I know
what it is to be without you.
Danielle Sellers has an MFA from the University of Mississippi where she held the John Grisham Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in The Cimarron Review, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Smartish Pace, Subtropics, and elsewhere. Her first book, Bone Key Elegies, was published by Main Street Rag.