The 2River View 22.2 (Winter 2018)

Elizabeth Forsythe

If I Petal-Pluck a Daisy It Becomes an Augury

if i petal-pluck a daisy it becomes an augury
this morning a small tawny bird hovered shoulder height & whispered
something about the future               i only caught when it said venus &
proclaimed the body of woman is divine                   i asked what about the brain

she was next to me    she is always next to me        forehead pressed into my neck
She fingerspells trauma against my skin       the bird said nothing & went up in flame
it wasn’t a phoenix so the ash meant nothing
the fire meant nothing
later i swallow a razor because she told me to

I Try Telling John I Don’t Believe in Ghosts

 i try telling John i don’t believe in ghosts
            [this is a lie]   
it spills from my lips &
i wind it around my fingers                a silver chain & black crystal
a rosary i choke on      i don’t know the words                      
            & ask instead about burial       

he places his fingers to my mouth                 rock salt & running water
he’s here because i asked him to be
                        kept at the edges       
                        bone ash against my chest

i read about funerary cannibalism     & think i can understand
            to keep the dead this close   
            so much closer
i have a sudden want for gentleness

Elizabeth Forsythe, who teaches at the University of Tampa, is the recipient of the 2016 Jane Lumley Prize. Her work can be found at Blood Orange Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Hermeneutic Chaos, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere.

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