what i found inside the black box

so much
can happen in a decade. in a night filled
with spiral-sta(i)red decline. things

to hold on to, in sacred letters tall as a man:
to touch. you should have known
there: tangere, like want. volare, to fly.

i’ve forgotten the past tense.
plusquamperfect amaveram,*
but only in the wrong tongue. she died.

now that coat hangs hung, like a wish,
starched with thin veins, so much in a decade.
some things you hold against forever.

memoryclamped. what if you could fly then,
glasseyed and steady. beads tight round
white wrist, to want with small fingers.

something many-touched to hang on to
in the night. meant to hold not to cut, meant
to hold not to cut. meant to hold not to cut.


*translations all from the Latin. amaveram is the first-person plusquamperfect tense of amare = I had loved.

10 thoughts on “what i found inside the black box

  1. Such intriguing imagery (as usual), creating the knowledge that there are unplumbed depths here. Unplumbed for me, not you. You’ve excavated them and laid them out for me, I just need the time to explore. Thank you for sharing!

    • there are depths not even i wish to plumb here, i think! this was a product of two workshop writes prompted by objects i found rather randomly around my house. Catholic jewelry and medical implements! 😉 Thank YOU for reading, Denise!

  2. the tangible nature of that coat hanging there…esp if it has been there 10 years….after their death…what a memory to hang there always reminding us….having taken 2 years of latin as well, i appreciate that….and even chuckled a bit at the tense….

  3. meant to hold not to cut… dang…that gave me shivers… great images…the man-tall letters…the coat starched with thin veins as if you can see life still running through it..

    • thanks, claudia… the last lines make this piece for me. i’ve tried reading it aloud a few times & each time do the emphasis on the ending a little differently… but still always it somehow gives me shivers, too.

  4. sometimes I wonder, whether or not ’tis better to keep the box shut, but after the event we deal with the pain or die emotion-wise. I too loved the imagery invoked by your poetic words. xPenx


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