Wednesday, September 19, 2012

RIP Malinda Markham

from Verse, Volume 18, Numbers 2 & 3

Malinda Markham

On beds in different rooms,
or distant, the woman shifts the angle of her foot. In the light,
her hair moves from red
to the dresser’s dull wood, a signature begun
from the moment her stocking
slips just enough to remind us she is there.

When the phone rings, only language is wrong.
If my jaw were not angled like that,
she and I could be almost
the same. This is the virtue of paint:
The scene controlled by turning the choulders
faintly to the left.

Can you hear the birds? I can’t say their name
in any language. That sound you hear
is not a door closing: No one
has entered the room. I repeat. There is no platform
for disbelief, no memory, even,
of the right word now,
but it begins in the manner of signal,
as in traffic or truth.

Farther to the left is the bookshelf, a mirror cut
by an electric cord.
If you can tell me how many steps it takes
to words I cannot mean, then.
And then.

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