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St. Hildegard’s Feast Day
After, visions of anatomic reds, a shadow on the kitchen floor.
I asked how B died and was told,
you know. And I did, somewhere in me. I don’t want
to picture what happened, and yet I have been here before,
both in the loss and the act—
or at least the attempt of it.
My grandmother’s funeral was last week,
and now another.
I type out my eulogy for the Internet to hear:
I am crowded by your absence.
Tonight, quiche for dinner. I cut my finger on eggshells
and tear the crust in its pan.
Press an ear to the storm drain.
Hum to break the quiet.
Think of my mother and her inability to eat
after her parents died. I understand it now:
I am not full, I am not empty. The quiche is bitter in my mouth;
I eat a bite anyway. Later, some goat cheese
with crackers. I have another bite
and remember the night in Denver,
cherry tomatoes and brie
on B’s living room floor. Again,
grief turns my stomach. Even water
is acrid. I watch a beautiful woman in my phone
peel beets, bathe bell peppers, crush salmon fillets under her fork.
I call this dinner, entertainment, filling.
Outside, a rushing. Foliage and wind, blood humming against skull.
Membrane over the sky. When I finally melt,
I choose to run, past the mailboxes
and into a nameless street. I have been here before.
I know. I have been here before.
[Note] Italicized line quotes “The Heaviest Rain We Ever Had” by Mallory Pearson
Landscape with mimes in every corner
a partial sestina
I am not sorry I am still coming back to myself,
an animal carrying a rag with its outside, familiar smell.
My sixth tattoo is healing—loudly. Dry heat folded
into the paint chips above my elbow. I am the daughter
of someone who wouldn’t recognize me anymore. Daughter
to my mother, her courage, her husband, my hands, myself.
Perhaps the sea is only a mirror. Head above the stove, I smell
the boiling water and salt. Humid face, soft vegetable, fork folding
its skin on top of my fanciest plate. Paper napkin in folds
against my free thumb, avalanche flip book. Again, I’ll admire the daughter
plant above the pond the ducks walked on all winter, and my
skirt will stain that dandelion color. I’ll be honest: I miss the smell
of winter, how I could dress like an icicle, a cocoon. No one can smell
the fear on me in this season, though. Good. Today I fold
another page in another book, like a heathen. Like a curious daughter,
hiding memoirs under her bed, looking to be her most observant self.
The tattoo, a permanent good luck charm. Makeup in the folds
under my eyes. I got them from smiling, both at you and to myself.
Lyd Havens is the author of Chokecherry (Game Over Books, 2021). Her poetry has previously been published in Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, and New Delta Review, among others. Lyd lives in Boise, Idaho.