Husband Heart Dream
I ate my dead husband’s heart
size of a chicken heart
large for a chicken, small for a man
removing the thin lenticular of glass
from the back
of the heart where it
filter, like a fine
glass stone such
as you would find as
a nugget of lint in a vacuum catch, lodged
the word quoit (“curling stone,” 1388) could describe it
I ate his heart
to keep faith, to keep strong
your glass palate comes loose
“Take that out of your mouth!” says mother
your glass mouth-trap asunder and crumbling in
salt-like shards in the night on your dry, dreaming
tongue for “jihadists” or “viruses” to forage and hoard
cover the body with
a white cloth as
one does to
distinguish the dead
from the living
the face of death
has a glass heart to it, it
synonyms forward in the mouth toward
what in the world we
can’t spit out, but like the world we have
what I love.
an etymology of you
do you if
check it out, check it out
is you related to yes?
that little tail’s a thorn?
stabbing into the world, tangling
in orchid roots
You, as in thou, not
as in thing
One people, they-them, a hem
Eow (Old English) or Yus (Proto-indo)
These hummingbird-little words thieving
fluttering banging against the palate with so much heft
holding nearly no history at all
obi wan Kenobi snowglobe on the earlobe
poetaster to the master
I’m waiting for trains with children & friends
The I is the binding in this poem
but you is the glue
My crazy angel and
your crazy angel were talking and laughing
and I didn’t even see.
Blue shadow’s shadow on snow.
Light’s back-lit mirror through empty trees.
Does that give me an excuse for being so
dumb, neglectful, wanting to own everything, smacking
my daughter in my mind, my
blond dead dad only blond
in dreams? Do I
own this death now?
I wanted my angel to be self-
contained, respectable. Ridiculous.
There is a secret line to this poem which
you will have to write me personally
la joie se produit par une petite compréhension entre cause et effet
un battement d’ailes?
Poet and memoirist Eleni Sikelianos is the author of a number of books, including The California Poem (2004), Body Clock (2008), The Loving Detail of the Living and the Dead (2013), Make Yourself Happy (2017), and What I Knew (2019). She has authored two hybrid memoirs, The Book of Jon (2004), and You Animal Machine (2014). She currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
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