V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




        —after the novel by Daphne DuMaurier

Cyclonic, I will pour fast & blue
from sea to cloud: the dead do indeed
return to stalk their familiar
halls, scent of crushed azalea & daub
of lipstick on cloth fished
from my old macintosh pocket.
I counter the clock. Its whirred hands
buzz beautiful as a circular saw
blade licking its lips. I am the kind
of knowledge a husband prefers
his wife not have, the type
he would keep for himself: pleasures
of the flesh, peat-smoked whiskey’s
steady burn, & the certainty one
will win in the end. What
woman wouldn’t trade her dog-
dumb eyes for mine? I cannot
entertain a lie. Let them call that
unnatural, gift me a malformed
womb & riddle me with cancer. It is
worth it: the bullet to the heart,
the spike-drilled hull,  the sea cocks
left open & rushing. Remember:
Rebecca did this, as I am doing,
& put the lilac sprigs one by one
in the white vase, not the first to do it.

© by Rebecca Dunham


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