As I read my wife’s text messages,
I struggle to capture—in a neat, tight box—the heat spreading across my chest. Later, she’ll ask if I felt sad at all. My face always looks just angry. To explain how the heart trembles, how an ache seems to swell and swell the longer you push your fingers into the pulsing and liquid center—isn’t enough. I try to hold on to her arms
lifting me from my hospital bed. Hold how she adjusted tubing that branched like crags and ravined from my body. My eyes glued tight with salt. How the water etched my checks, dried skin to paper, and she walked backwards holding my body to hers, walked me to the bathroom over and over, washed my hair, called out to nurses on the intercom, spooned broth into my mouth after testing the heat on her tongue. Love is both of us swimming
in an ocean of morphine—both of us reaching out for each other. Love is this other woman too. And we all live in the warm wound of my slowly splintering heart dropping clots like paint in the shallows.
Memoir of Gray
Like winter paints strokes of naked birch across a canvas washed with watered pigment—the between blue and leaden green of your eyes—I’ve painted a memoir of gray. I know I took too long to say plainly how often my silence meant I was dreaming of running, too often I imagined stopping the car, disappearing into the nearest field. Like winter, I never cared much if someone found me—or when—if I’d be flesh, or if my skin would have feathered and blown to the ground as leaves to crumble and dance in the January frost. Only the children in the back of our van stopped me, their faces waiting. How their lips would have blued, their breath. Not you. And I’m sorry. This is where you lost me to the sadness. I should have told you gray had painted my eyes, sealed my mouth. I should have told you again and again, I no longer believe you love me. My body shakes under the weight of all our love.
Allison Blevins received her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte. She is the author of the chapbooks Susurration (Blue Lyra Press, 2019), Letters to Joan (Lithic Press, 2019), and A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019), winner of the Robin Becker Prize. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Harbor Review and the Poetry Editorial Assistant at Literary Mama. Her work has appeared in such journals as Mid-American Review, the minnesota review, Raleigh Review, Sinister Wisdom, and Josephine Quarterly. She lives in Missouri with her wife and three children where she co-organizes the Downtown Poetry reading series. For more information visit http://www.allisonblevins.com.
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