April 2, 2021

Austen Leah Rose




I swam into the center of a dark star, the farthest point 
from every other point, 


the place 


where people become shapes along the shore, where a mother 
becomes the idea 


of a mother, and a sister becomes the idea of a sister.


Here, everything is its opposite: trees, buildings, snow, Thursday, music, 
boredom, regret.


Dear husband, I have been writing you letters, then erasing them, 
then sending blank pages in the mail
as if to prove you really are 


to a ghost. I swear


yesterday I dipped my hand in a pool of emptiness
and dragged up a dead dove. Do you realize what cruelty I’m capable of


when you leave me alone like this? Dear husband


I am thinking of a house with yellow curtains in a town that no one visits,
and where it always rains, a child 


tying his shoelaces at the bottom
of a staircase.


Not this wind that knocks the power lines down.


Dear husband


yesterday, I unzipped the translucent skin of my tent to watch the mountains 
glow pink somewhere 
in Arizona. I swear 


I saw a spark 
ignite between two mirrors that faced each other in a field,


a silver necklace caught in the bare branches of a tree. 

from Rattle #70, Winter 2020
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


Austen Leah Rose: “Rilke wrote a lot of letters, especially to his wife, Clara. He had to, because he was always running away from her, isolating himself in windswept castles perched on rocks by the sea. I suppose he required a certain amount of distance in order to feel intimacy. In one letter, he describes an ideal relationship: ‘I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.’” (web)

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