by Kelly Rose Pflug-Back
In the hospital, I dreamed that death lay beside me my face a pale cameo in the wreath of her powder-gloved hands. Leech-wife, reaper she bathed my hair in strange attars in tinctures of dark, bitter roots as the doctors reached inside me to do their strange tampering unravelling skeins of dyed wool, tangled strands of bloody pearls bound in yellowed twine those mangled pieces of you and I and never will be.In every city where your mother ever lived, it was raining:
it was raining on the broad leaves of poplar trees on the street where you grew up
and on the eaves of the building
where your grandfather died.
All winter I remember how we warred beneath this roof — my sadness filled whole rooms nesting in the lint of empty cupboards curled on its haunches in the damp of the kitchen sink. Perhaps when I am gone you will find a space in your life shaped like this, I thought a chalk outline of my heavy body. The phone will ring and ring and no one will answer and you will find yourself wishing you never raised your voice or slept all those nights with your back turned to me I am sorry, sir but no one lives here by that name. Our bodies are flowing columns of script, my love our bodies are continents divided; pogroms, floods world wars have conspired to bring us here into the lisp and stutter of this life's strange passage into the respite of each other and this we must never forget. After you and I have found ten thousand ways to hurt and mend each other after dawn has paled over the world's mad wreckage and my heart's landfill flutters with the grey wings of gulls after Autumn's tissue paper ghosts have blown free from bare fingerbone trees and the department store Santas have closed their cotton wool eyes after the trembling in my hands at last, subsides the party guests will grow tired of dancing the patriarchs will ease themselves from creaking chairs and button the buttons of their dark coats and you and I will find ourselves alone, laughing at nothing in the third-floor rooms of your parents' house where I will tell you that I love you, still the way I did when we were children I love you, still the way I did when we were old.
Kelly Rose Pflug-Back writes poetry, short fiction, and articles. Her stuff has appeared in places like the Toronto Star, NOW Magazine, The Feminist Wire, Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, Stone Telling, Counterpunch, and many others, as well as having won awards from This Magazine's Great Canadian Literary Hunt, the Tshepo Institute, and the P.K. Page Foundation. Her book of poems, These Burning Streets, is available from Combustion Books (2012), and she is currently working on an MA in Development and Refugee Studies, studying the links between forced migration and resource extraction industries. Follow her on twitter at @kellypflug or check out her poorly maintained blog here. Her favourite fruit is the mango, but only when combined with red chillies.
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