Kimberly Ann Southwick
your hair between us—
a nightshade. morning is hollow, my
head is light.
I say I want to ask you selfish questions.
find me a too-small bathtub,
a cold floor for this fire I can’t match.
your Sherlock Holmesian eyes lie an answer
to ever before and would you again,
know what to say, then, to this—
when this is a cipher. this is only
the code—the rest of it
complex as a winter pause.
you’ll tell me it’s simple,
bring me a Styrofoam cup of water.
before you glance out a window and
are gone, you
leave it at my bedside table.
find me the loudness of a hotel heater
that quiets brightness blooming.
We won’t pose it as a question
but lock it in a room, lock ourselves away
with swallowed keys.
Our hearts are birds’ hearts aflutter.
We won’t pose it as fact, or apology.
It is an apology, an apology for a heartbeat.
You cannot and I cannot. We do not contract.
The moon is our wax. The wind will not wane.
It blows north to you, still.
Can I say always? Can I say, a heartbeat is always.
Can I speak of the world, the weather, without fear? No.
Can I speak of the moonshine, the licorice taste of it? Only
the night, only the black bird against the black sky.
Hope’s name is a bird.
You were never the sun, but I loved you
anyhow and also in the present tense,
We are swallows met briefly in birdbaths full of sand,
shaking our feathers, scattering.
Kimberly Ann Southwick is the founder and editor in chief of the biannaul print literary arts journal Gigantic Sequins. Her poetry has been published by Hobart, Two Serious Ladies, Barrelhouse, Word Riot, The Rumpus, Everyday Genius, and others. A chapbook of her poetry,every song by Patsy Cline, is out this year with dancing girl press. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, the artist Geoff Thompson, and their dog, Jezebel. Visit her website at kimberlyannsouthwick.com & follow her on twitter: @kimannjosouth