ASCENDING AND DESCENDING – Beth Gordon

after M.C. Escher

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Our friend on the river has a sinus disease, her head watery
and close to drowned, she wants to know if we will be at her visitation when she succumbs
to parasites, her house
overflowing with half-feral cats and photographs of Cambodian elephants and the deck she built
two months after a surgeon removed 1/3 of her liver and we know
that despite her protestations she will outlive us all, still providing broken-
hearted blue jays with pine cones and peanut butter, and I have never saved anything from death, not even the children that I brought
into the world who will tell you that they love me while they bandage their invisible
scars, my only living grandchild kept at a safe distance, the postman brings him
new clothes and musical
toys, but my DNA is not to be found on anything he touches, I accept this fate, our friend accepts
her illnesses as an occupational hazard for saving the world and while I look for matching
socks and a measuring tape, I remember that I dreamed last night of another airport,
another abandoned mall, a house
with revolving staircases and I tell you that my nightmares have evolved from gas-station
pay phones and operators demanding one more nickel to touchscreens and whitepages.com
but it’s all the same, I have lost
the number, my pockets are empty, my scream is swallowed by my future ghost and she refuses to confess to murder, she wants her lawyer, she wants a cigarette, she wants a shot
of whiskey, she wants to know why I am still sleeping, she wants
her one phone call.

 

 

Beth Gordon received her MFA a long time ago and was not heard from again until 2017 when her poems began to appear in numerous journals Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize; and her chapbook, Particularly Dangerous Situation, is forthcoming from Clare Songbird Publishing House in 2019. She is also poetry editor of Gone Lawn.

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