by Bobbi Lurie
Though you are dead now. Though I walk covered in dust through this strip mall in Iowa. I remember the collection of tendencies that led me here. The flat landscape. The blazing heat of cornfields. The landscape and body are one sensation.
Everywhere the books of atmospheric pressure. This book smells like miracles. That you were the chapter. That I was the slaughter. That sheep, my inheritance. That you were the shepherd who lead me here. Your hand reaching out to strike. Your hand reaching up to brush the hair from your brow. I never knew which. I never knew when. Your hand.
The cornfields are memories. You can not remember anything. The road is filled with dust haze. Your life is. Your death. I can not find it in this landscape. This collection of tendencies.
Though you are dead now. Though your hand would reach to strike. Though your hand would reach up to brush. The hair from your brow. Though light penetrates this. It is flat. It is frozen in self-image. I must resist the symbiotic wish. I must void the infantile condition. That region. This region. The atmospheric pressure in the vicinity of living.
Though you seemed invincible when your body moved. Though the way your hand. Would reach to your brow. Even though dead. Even though each wave of light penetrates. Even though only seems to slaughter. Sheep of inheritance.
Wake up at 4 a.m. Walk out naked to the porch. Skin shimmering. The way the word porch clings. The creaky swing. Dark lake of the body. What is always erased. The way your hand would reach to your brow and wipe your hair away. And it was always your hair. Always yours. And your face jutted into the landscape. This nowhere. This clicking sound of insects. Late summer.
All rights reserved.
This prose poem was written while traveling through Iowa, the place of my father's birth. I wrote on small scraps of paper as I traveled through this unfamiliar yet strangely familiar landscape. The poem is a collage of these fragments constructed into a a single piece months later. It was previously published in Gulf Coast Magazine and will be included in my third poetry collection, Grief Suite, coming out in May, 2010.