Portraits of Us Before and After Your Death & Song for Laurel, After the Fires

by Laura E. Davis

 

Portraits of Us Before and After Your Death

1.

the night before you die
we’re in bed: my fingers
trace psalms across your belly
while my lips slouch along
sweet. press plum to thigh,
leave circles like blood
dots on cotton sheets.

2.

the night after, I want
your thighs to unbridle
me from my skin
with your skin,
colloid/milk.
take it. my mouth
soft-melting your skin.
you are whole, quaked
the slid moment
sewn there

3.

Months. In the kitchen, whole fruit
starts to compost: lime & tangerine.

4.

yes, today I hear you laughing
like the key’s tink-tink.
a hybrid iridescent shape appears:
do not be splayed

5.

So maybe I can no longer see you:
a sky-tasted girl
slinking through the countryside
in canoes, lying flaked in the earth, mouth
whispering fishes, fishes as the sun
dries the world silver.

 

 

Song for Laurel, After the Fires

Musty flames on driftwood
swallow all the sounds
while whitewrought stones
line children’s pockets,

evening our loads. Stitch
our palms to feathersong
and cling waistround
the crops, the summerwheat

pawing the purple-hemmed
horizon. Our prayers now
written daily on this barren
skin then washed so pink

in the nightly riverbath—
then carried to lakedrifts,
our collection of whispers
desperate in the rivulets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura E. Davis is the author of the chapbook Braiding the Storm (Finishing Line, 2012). Her poems are featured or forthcoming in Sweet Lit, Crab Creek Review, and Redactions, among others. The Founding Editor of Weave Magazine, she teaches poetry in San Francisco, where she lives with her partner, Sal.

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