Renee Emerson


Once I thought the weather
would never change. Memory
comes back. Expands
and widens. We push
the borrowed twin beds
together, and at night
a leg or arm slides
into the gap, becomes numb
and separate from the body
like a criticism between lovers.
Mother told me I was weightless
to him. Sunlight on the shoulder.
I do not want to be left
a little at a time,
like streets abandoned
to darkness. A wall
painted the neutral colors
of milk, bread, held solid
by pictures of friends,
family, familiar people
in street clothes, in
hand-me-downs. When they left,
I kept them out. I did
not notice the tattered couch,
the sharp edges
of furniture. I left behind
uncomfortable keepsakes.
They are still here, as graceful as
the arc of waves in the ocean,
and as endless. The awful rowing.

Renee Emerson has her MFA from Boston University and currently teaches poetry at Shorter University. She has published three chapbooks, most recently Where Nothing Can Grow (Batcat Press), and her work has been published in Indiana Review, Southern Humanities Review, and various others.

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