• A.J. Super

Girl or Just Violence from Here: Poem Nine

The Death of Virginia Clemm

Purple curtains silken slide with ocean breezes, stirring heavy sleep in shrouds of salt bathed bedclothes. My Christ name blazes virgin, gravel breath spattering lust colour on white wool shift. Mother brought me chicken broth living in shiny white shoes, satin pin-curls, and lace trimmed taffeta. Blue gingham nurse dabs as if it will wash blood-spit from cherry post bed, preparing to penny-wipe pale eyes into Baltimore marble sepulchres. Mother wanted me to marry. I watch mahogany-framed shock raven hair strung over alabaster mantle, memento of white vows at thirteen years Edgar might come today. I close eyes against racked ruby respiration, breathe, window cracked scents, canary sun and bare feet across low tide. He let me sing Leda until I coughed staged dreams raw iron red into piled cotton down. But he is just a man wedged in a wormwood bottle, painting me in print black words, grasping wax puddles, bent quills. And I am only spilt ink, soft sliding into leaden sleep.

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