Florencia Varela

Four Elegies with Brian

Somewhere in New York, it is not

Spring has probably arrived in Monticello,
or Long Island.

My last Christmas tree is still in the backyard,
covered by last night's snow.

What happens if the tree remains
the rest of the year?

Would its branches vitrify,
splinter against the grass-blades,

or would they press into the earth,
past the loose clumps, into darker

soil and reach wooden fingers
towards others' roots?

Everything grew quiet. Everything grew loud.

Can you imagine how we have changed
in the eyes of other animals?


You count beautiful women on the street,
the slopes of their backs,
the angles in their faces.

It seems like everything reverts to numbers these days,
or that we chose the wrong careers.

I now consider my apartment
three rectangles, two smaller squares
and a circle of flotsam
from which all socks and books and pens
never return.

How many times will we undress another
for the first time, or bury someone
for the last?
Everything becomes a question these days.

Was it
knowledge or eye color
that skips a generation?

I thank the frivolity of our math
which allows us to personify
that supplementary angle or
an alternate interior.


And if we never marry.

Woods bent on finch & throe,

a foothold taxed by its own artlessness.

Outlines etched onto strata,

years from now scientists will unearth us,

fossil and sorrow done, and upon

examination, will they not find us

the same as our fathers, Fisher King lithographs

unmoved and rueful,

sorry for their small violences.

We are full of gestures we don't mean

and of dahlias, and dahlias.


Somewhere in Brooklyn, winter won't end.
How terrible to survive it!
The season had us in mind

when it decided to stop separating
reds from reds, sewed each afternoon
into a dim pulse.

After New York
will the afternoons still glow amber;
and after winter,

what clementines?
The dark has already taken our empties,
nothing left for it to collect

but some lingering hunger.
I went to a beach, the closest
edge I could find.

The sand clung to my skin as if it knew
of the rattle within us —
Go downwind, and farther.

Florencia Varela is completing her MFA in creative writing at Columbia University. Her work has previously appeared, or is forthcoming, in journals such as Boxcar Poetry Review, DIAGRAM, Drunken Boat,Paterson Literary Review, and Western Humanities; as well as in the anthology Stranger at Home: American Poetry with an Accent (Numina Press 2008). contact


13.3 (Spring 2009)   The 2River View AuthorsPoemsPDFArchives2River

Bookmark or Share

Print, Fold, Staple