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Red Eyes



Regina CollListen


I imagine it was before the ceremony, before
they all started drinking and sharing cigarettes,
          because her dress looked properly stiff and she's pensive.
But more about this dress—
cinched tightly at the waist smoothed over her gathered knees,
large-collared, crowning sleeves with little wings.
Spotless whiteness.
I can’t see her shoes—they’re
          not in the photo—but her stockings are no longer black
they’re a brushed ice under her buttoned armor
and about her shoulders whips a heavy blue cape lined in blood red—
          it looks like it would be itchy from the photo, and makes me scratch under
my chin where I see hers clasped. But a wind is blowing the cape open,
blowing back her curls and cowlicks, strands floating over the top
of her cap

her cap
a cap.
          She’s sitting on a rock looking into the wind.

North by North

for Rockwell Kent

I was looking for shipwrecks
          for broken lives and froth
          at the edge of human-ness
and you stole my north, my compass
          turned, towards your north
          in whites, your north by water.
Women huddled facing, men crawled away
          from their provider
          attracted or breathless
and almost over, like it never happened
          but betrayed by numbers, so,
          life under a coat, a triangle of yours
drawn from the knees, isosceles leaning
          one watches, one wails, one comforts
          on the prominence, done.

We traveled similar paths, yours in youth, mine
in my mother’s life
          (a Newfie fish eater)
framed through her limbs, and her feet then
in father’s, a basket of
          ice and secrets—why is it called Greenland
and which do I love more,
line or story? Maybe they walked where you did.
          Can I say I, too, can I say ours?

Because I knew when I saw it / you. My eyes
entering you saw my own lack of courage
but felt there
the wind
and the leathery brush by the cottage,
and a flight over crucifixion,
and the seal’s red flesh like a magnet, north.

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