Poetry - The Wormwood Collective, Absinthe Literary Review

by David Ritchie

Like Ice on Porcelain

I was moved to confusion
by the rapid motion of people
on sidewalks
I closed the open window
then allowed ice water
to run down my chest.
Like ice on porcelain.
This night I will wait for a visitor
who will not come
who will say they were delayed
by the weather
or a death in the family, and 
I will be glad that I had a friend at least
People in odd clothes will appear 
at my door
while I am in the shower
I will answer their calls naked
and a lady will tell me my chest
looks like porcelain
and ice.
This indecent procession of the dead
does not have to arrive by the front door
but does so to honor me
and I have asked “Why honor me?”
but they only say in their quiet way
“Go to bed now”.



Like Cabbages In the Field

Whoever thought death 
could not be held at bay
are not children sustained 
by the decay of our bodies
like cabbages in the field 
nourished by dead fish
I have rebelled against so much
without realizing the abruptness of forever
I should have been more aware of you
smelled the perfume of your hair
your child’s skin.
We parted so many times
without thought 
of returning
else I would not have left but
pitched my camp on your lawn and
lived the life of a wanderer watching you
following you everywhere you went
even to your dissatisfaction
just to fill my cup of you 
in preparation.
I ask if will we meet again 
as if it were the first time
as at your birth
Or is this separation 
a lesson in forgetfulness
merely the confiscation 
of a life-giving part of me.
If I could reanimate you
by doing so
I would amputate every part of me
I would give you even my memories 
leaving nothing for myself

For in navigating 
between this place
and yours
I have learned something
There is numbness 
in forgetting.


Woman With a Golden Box

There is a golden box, carried
in the arms of a dark haired woman.
This is a bridge 
to understanding.
There on your hill
while watching a white sail
or the evening stars,
you will see a blurring 
of their shapes
and know 
that she has passed.


© 2002 David Ritchie

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