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May 2023
What happened while
the manuscripts choked?
Lighter shoulders,
stranger testaments.

Pardons reflect an ark
where shine means shout,
wind means worship,
and we stopped placing wonder
on anyone's elegy.

I used to be so young and severe,
trembling under any movement.
I played a ghost
until I became one.

I'd be crimped into vails,
rushed through verses,
roused from rest;
and hunting for your hand.

Echoes of ether-
loose-limbed and hearkening,
barely blinking;
saluting fences,
planting poems,
heeding baby-teeth.

Interred with you in
this chaos,
this grass-
fermenting fate
We tried to rise,
but failed to become the sky.

Since you cannot
take testimony seriously,
I had to rip it out-
our two wills colliding,
our pine coffins dissolving.

I was buried with jewels in
my open palms;
still offering,
still not atoned.

Your hands were buried empty
with nothing to answer for,
still tense,
still clenched in fists.

We harbor things-alive from our dead parts;
mice warm in your nest of ribs,
beetles declare squatters rights
in the tent of my pelvis and
raise flags from hip-bone heights.

Worms slink along fingers
and unite our pieces in peace.
In life we follied;
underfoot we fuel.
Tenable terrain,
we transform tomorrow tender.

The manuscripts soften to us,
the archives are kind.
We let ourselves sink into the rattle
and double into strange dust
so that new things
blooming from us.
Kiernan Norman
Written by
Kiernan Norman  Connecticut
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