Cremating Ishtar
©1999 by Erin Elizabeth

I am perched in obscure angles on the cliff
of mattress, counting my fingers, over and over,
trying to make the room loud.   She is sitting, patiently,
on the other life of this bed, telling me that I don't
know how New York feels at sunset, all the hustle
of breath, calmed, suddenly.  How I could never
lower my voice enough or broaden my hands,
my face.  And that, to her, I would always be a girl
poet, climbing cautiously onto dim stages,
reading of Ishtar, doubled over in the sky,
cramped with menstruation.

Some days I feel like I have the world
trapped between my thumb and forefinger,
but she is across the room, tying her shoe,
telling me if we don't leave now, we'll be late,
and the Sunday of it all quietly curls
and dies in its sleep.

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