Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

Waking from a Dream and Turning My Body toward Him, He Asks Questions | Winner of the 2019 Construction Poetry Prize; Idaho, After

Waking from a Dream and Turning My Body toward Him, He Asks Questions | Winner of the 2019 Construction Poetry Prize; Idaho, After
Photograph via Flickr by Patrick Bouquet

Waking from a Dream and Turning My Body toward Him, He Asks Questions

Like was I one of those women
who had an abortion once? My body,

one long seam he felt as space
between his wrists.

I have been sutured,
up to my neck in grief. This kind
of heavy healing. He thinks he feels my skin as my skin

this way, sending his hands up and down as one
would a body not cradling its center fold,

its lack. When I want to tell him my body turns
the question of what it is to have something
resembling life,

and suddenly, then none of this
maybe-life inside of you, of which was

taken out—.     Instead I say: no, never.
Raped? And he asks so blatantly

I can taste the rot of the word consuming
everything once good in his mouth. My answer

comes as one long herd of black horses galloping
against their chains—broken, rubbing skin
into blood into ankles—the length of my throat

to stomach, which is to say only a half-seam,
and to say that watching this kind of escape

wasn’t beautiful
simply wouldn’t be true.

 

Idaho, After

If this were not a place, it would be easier to find
you. If this were a bloom in the mouth

full of your name, I could spend the next season
building a garden of you back

to where safety stands closer and tilts its head
toward the sun. You’re still somewhere

turning that golden hue of field, where the dawn breaks
skin into day’s being. If this were

not the years of you gone or the moment called to
each night before night settles in, never tender

but known intimately, you could begin by saying: God,
remember to deliver us, consider mercy

for aftermath. Instead: God, the weight of your palms
filling this sky is no longer the breath I can breathe.

If this were not the lack of every day
continuing to fail you. Or knowing captivity

by flesh sinking further into your jaw. Say absence. Say
seam. Say it is not the abundant rivers wailing

the song of a land you once knew
but the ditches screaming empty to find you.