A poem by Elisa Chavez

Down here, the asphodel wisps up through sidewalk cracks and waits like a line of physicians in powdered-sugar fields.

The cracks below my feet look like the letters of your name; I trace each one, letting them ripple like sounds, letting them reticulate like the secret rings of trees.

(When you wake gut-first to the dense black breath of your bed and picture me, you don’t picture me here, but in my favorite summer shorts with the red ribbons. My feet are cut to red ribbons as the car skitters away, and you feel a regret so deep it’s almost sensuous. It’s not strictly for what’s happened, but an underwater nostalgia, a curling envy for what the dead know. When I breathe, you pull the sheets up to your neck.)

Sometimes I see ribbons too, when I look down; mostly I just see white: the cracks in the sidewalk thrusting up flowers. Little godhead lightbulbs dispensing alleluia to the corners of rooms. A flat, white, low-hanging sky.

I remember your name down here, but I don’t remember mine.

Pencil, Ink and watercolor on Stonehenge paper, 11x14." 2013.

Written by Eliza Chavez, prompted by my painting, “Double Amputee {legs},” and performed at the Twilight Gallery here in Seattle this past September. I can’t believe I haven’t shared it till now – it really hits me hard, the words trickling all into place just so. The poem leaves me with a bitter, dark feeling that is so – right.


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