Aila Meriluoto

So this is why everything was shaped,
the pelvis’s fine, shy curve
and the roseate fragile line of the soul.
Not for the somewhere melodious
immaterial smile of a passing god.
No. For this:
to form a gate, for a stranger to come in,
that first stranger, the ur- stranger.
And out of which will go, into the world,
other strangers, inconsequentially,
without a glance, setting their courses
towards their particular fates, driving away.

Expediency, ah – ah flesh –
not inviolate, slowly mouldering,
ah violated soul, rending from itself,
continually, a new soul,
and recovering only to rend itself again.
Scarred soul, where love, even,
is a utility, inescapable, for purpose-designed.

Life uses you. Just like that, unceremoniously,
with a sneer at best, makes use of, tosses away.
And if some corner remains untouched,
it’s no longer any use. A corner of a soul – yes.
Not tragic. Just useless now.

Photo by asoggetti on Unsplash

take cover


Conversation in Crisis
Audre Lorde
I speak to you as a friend speaks
or a true lover
not out of friendship or love
but for a clear meeting
of self upon self
in sight of our hearth
but without fire.

I cherish your words that ring
like late summer thunders
to sing without octave
and fade, having spoken the season.
But I hear the false heat of this voice
as it dries up the sides of your words
coaxing melodies from your tongue
and this curled music is treason.

Must I die in your fever
as the flames wax take cover
in your heart’s culverts
crouched like a stranger
under the scorched leaves
of your other burnt loves
until the storm passes over?

“nights blue and distended”


Late August
Margaret Atwood

This is the plum season, the nights
blue and distended, the moon
hazed, this is the season of peaches

with their lush lobed bulbs
that glow in the dusk, apples
that drop and rot
sweetly, their brown skins veined as glands

No more the shrill voices
that cried Need Need
from the cold pond, bladed
and urgent as new grass

Now it is the crickets
that say Ripe Ripe
slurred in the darkness, while the plums

dripping on the lawn outside
our window, burst
with a sound like thick syrup
muffled and slow

The air is still
warm, flesh moves over
flesh, there is no


Photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash

wool and cotton


‘Nothing Lasts’
Jane Hirshfield
“Nothing lasts” —
how bitterly the thought attends each loss.

“Nothing lasts” —
a promise also of consolation.

Grief and hope
the skipping rope’s two ends,
twin daughters of impatience.

One wears a dress of wool, the other cotton.