The 2River View 26.3 (Spring 2022)

Gail Lukasik

The End of Romance

Your armor rattles when you kiss me goodbye.
I am at the window, at the loom, my heart in my hands.
You’re eating oranges on the Cote d’Azur.
I’m writing romances to buy you silk suits.

I let you put words in my mouth—
the way the moon loses its voice
to sun and even a million stars can’t
compensate for the shadow in the yard.

Toward the end you avoid active verbs,
knowing their consequences.
I pretend not to notice when you leave me
without a glass of water to swallow the pills.

On the First Anniversary of Your Death

Weeds’ thin reach or your hands waiting—
beneath fields wrenched open with loss.
Where seeds once were stones—
What will not wither quickly.

Now the cool change
of direction as only birds
know the way back
and shadows wear the road down,
where you’re not seen
only heard whispering.

What rises as blue
from the ground opens
my hand like sun you come
looking for me.
This year who can I be
and save myself.

Gutters gleam yellow harvest,
scattering of geese squawk
overhead trees turning from the
tips inward.
On my fingers your green taste
slowing fading
as I wait for your skin
to fall away
and then your clothes.

Gail Lukasik has appeared in Carolina Quarterly, The Daily Beast, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. In 2017, The Washington Post named White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing one of the most inspiring stories of the year. website

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