Guest Post, Maureen Alsop: But First There Was the Body, Then the Mind, Then the Mind Letting Go of the Body

MidsummerThe day you died we cut off three slips of your hair, as is the custom. I asked myself if grief’s capacity, in part, is joy for its certainty. And because there is now an actual hour between the hour, it is my recompense. Together we’d been versions of “gathering and stopping.”  Breath volunteered its kind-hearted calmness; you’d found that going was up to the touch. Eventually we are all in such a position as you once were. I know you tried hard. It made you quicken.  The rain chased you with its cool evidence, its mythmaking clarity. Moss inscribed, you were evidently lungs and nouns and the last plot upon which no one could center. Maybe the physicality of sound, a surround of the inordinate laughter, was compost to make a new story. You were the last word I could cook for food.

And I have loved the top view of your weathers, criss-crossing the spaces just long enough to swim among your underbody’s chill, the soul’s photons buried in a passing train. When this is you. The point we begin a gallery of leaves, a river of light spaces just long enough to be remembered, shuffled images pooled. Or because I remember thinking of the point at which there would be no waiting, I might sit gathering the full stop of us.

Either way, all my protections go unmeasured. There is a miniscule grotto inside my heart, where votives remain lit, a scrim of bird-oil sullies the glass. I am a tracing of veins on your temples in the mirror. Opening a new woman in the glass. So I say to myself, so saying to you, as if you were another—well this is one way that we might continue to speak—So that I might go outside into the world soon and love only this other.

Until we are automatic. Eventually we dream a deeper black, behind the workings of smooth numbers, variant windows. In the end you would reveal you were both the carrier and interpreter of dreams. Scarred only at the center of intuition, I was the myth of what you had hidden.

Maureen Alsop

Maureen Alsop, PhD is the author of four collections of poetry: Apparition Wren, Mantic, Later, Knives & Trees and Mirror Inside Coffin. Her poems have appeared in a variety of journals including Superstition Review (issue 13) where she has previously contributed a series of guest blog posts on the theme of self portrayal.

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