by Maureen Alsop
The ritual we made of love — at the river we anointed our foreheads with salt. Later, under the bridge we lay in silence. You didn’t feel my kindness, nor discriminate my motives, I held your palms open against mine, in a four handed prayer we mumbled a false desire as the dead surrounded us measuring our words. Walls of apology opened, heat dying on our cheeks as noon rose above us.
During the pre-war the peasants slept in the stable, died of starvation or were dragged out by cowards and shot in the chapel as deathbed. The outer gate near the cemetery, where the killings took place, blushed in moss. In later years the entry paled into in a patch of mica. In my mind I sit in this pallid circle and gather each revolutionary’s corpse to my chest. My mouth emits a light upon their lips, as a blue frost rises to filter their last breath through my windpipe.
Maureen Alsop is the author of four poetry collections.