Suffering has the curved
whale bones of a corset,
the ship hull beams
of gilded cathedral ceilings.
Suffering is the blue window
upon whose ledge, a basket of eggs
warms, blood threading yolks.
The porcelain tiles of azure,
calligraphy of secrets we’ll never
know, but need—only revealed
when the pool is emptied; never
or not yet. Never. Or not yet.
It’s the warped space leading
into the green hearts of corn lilies.
Can be found in the chlorine
blue glacial tapestry, melting,
meltingmeltingmelting. The royal
tombs of all the zooed polar bears.
The smokehouse abandoned
a century, still smelling of carcasses
and wood charred to charcoal.
My darling, look not for me
and I will not look for the familiar shape
of your velvet shadow, draping the floor
of every room in the house, so new without
you in it. What I loved so terribly
in you can only be glanced
when I look away.
Barbara Lawhorn is an Assistant Professor at Western Illinois University. She’s into literacy activism, walking Banjo (the best dog in the history of the universe), running, baking and eating bread, and finding the wild places within and outside. Her most recent work can be found at The Longleaf Pine, BLYNKT, Nebo: A Literary Magazine, and Naugatuck River Review. Her favorite creative endeavors are her kiddos, Annaleigh and Jack.