Of the common dreads, none are named
but waiting. Even here, under the aegis
of the left-unsaid, that I doubted
your oath to return, we feel packaged in
by waiting. If a holiday is the practice
of hunger, mine is for what was: the old
unsaddled city, pre-siege and home
to you in your most fathomable. Known
then as nurturer, you were belonged-to.
From nowhere and nearly frozen,
the wrong you arrives, a hovering of skin
and bones and barely. An after with a look
of asking. I offer ribbons and my want
for repair, offer your incense
I’ve been burning without knowing why.
My body is smoke in the shape of a man
and mine only for its vanishing.
I’m more alluring as afterimage,
as Gone, so women want me
to disappear, none of them knowing
I am after what will hold, the handcuff
not charmed loose. All illusions aim
to end escaping and strap me
to what stays. This, a chamber
of metal and mahogany, is my final
sleight. See how the shackles are
donned, how fluid fills the tank. See
how the locks don’t pop
and what I conjure is constraint.
Allowed a body, I wanted
another. Not the salt and un-mending
muscle of my own,
but wicker, boneless and capable
And they made it for me. I stood inside
and it was fulfilled,
not needing, not quilled by appetite.
set to flames the wicker frame, and within,
I was a fragrance
given off. There were watchers to breathe me
I could save. I don’t care what it means
to be sacrificed
to fog or feeble gods: this is about me,
how I will abolish
my form to earn the ever— an unoffered
option of lasting,
gathered around, grafted to purpose.
Daniel J Walsh is a teaching fellow at Columbia University, where he studied for his MFA in poetry. Prior, he received his BA from Muhlenberg College. He also has work forthcoming in Death Hums.