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May 20, 2024

While standing at the water's edge

By Abigail George

While standing at the water's edge
(for the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)

    Leave the light on. Let it overflow this
    room. I want joy to fill my mouth.
Somebody leave the light on. Draw the curtains as
    the charming night falls all around us, mother.
    You're ancient and thin and smoked
    too many cigarettes in another life.
    This valley is private and irrational. Its
    language does not have a safety-net.
Language must be translated. This valley is distant

    and shifting. Its company is toxic as
    orange clouds if you didn't surmise that.
    No one cares about you the way that
    I care about you. No one is going to
    love you the way that I love you. I was
    talking about this valley before you
    interrupted me. This valley that is part-
    decay, part-life, and faintness, and part-
    electric depth, and cutting burning flight,

    and spine-envy and of the toothless
    shepherd's season. Books come from
    ghosts. Ghosts, ghost, ghosts, ghost.
    How I love all of them. How I want to
    dance with all of them. How I want to
    kiss their cold lips. Dance away from
    the winter in their arms. How I want to
    visit stations. Feast upon and treasure and
    trace the winter in their veins. These

    invited-uninvited guests. They're headless
    in the lamplight's moth flame. They're
    my tribe. These friendly boys who once
    could have been anything. Now they're
    all washed away but not their sins. I tell
    myself with feeling that ghosts come
    from scrolls. The rhythmic-nature books.
    Ghosts come from books. Ghosts come
    from heroic writing. Winter studies of the

    sleeping tongues of beautiful women.
This is the road taken if you forget me.

Article © Abigail George. All rights reserved.
Published on 2019-04-08
Image(s) are public domain.
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