Alyssa Morhardt-Goldstein
Seven Poems


only that I have gotten better,
you think, o,   what calm.

I leave a sliver of the wound unstitched.
you breath into it — yes.  

            your hair brushes against it in sleep.




            the sea tumbled in the dark as we slept, clapping, lighting the clothesline
and on the wet-again towels hanging,   lit into the tall doors, glass and white paint,
our slender vines on the floor.
                                                I am trying to remember this from partial sleep. the echo
of the ocean in a furnitureless room. how the boats sailed across the white ceiling upside-down.
                                                                                    how the boats sailed down.




what are you trying to say, keep trying. what are you trying.
seven new dresses, and no body to put them on.
when the sacred dies it does not return to the earth, that’s the problem.
the earth stops its returning.




these are your name.      ask me, hold up to the light your shapes.
with facets, like them, each chrysalis, color
as color is like taste.       you must know how I look to you like that.
sediment and driftwood, gloam of your myriad voices,
toredo or shipworm,
            these are your name.




when it is emptied.   when it was full, and always,
            after, with what is left.
the floor of the shower
            without you in it,   the whole of the house.

how it empties, your voice,
a bowl from a bowl,
            or I was mistaken,
nothing was emptied –

what you say is the truth is the truth.




so we became unnatural, so what.
so we shut ourselves,
drowned the kids,
stood behind the screen door like just before fall,
just before I open the door for you, expressionless.


I’m so all the things.


pearldarkness this side,   halfmotion.




under the silt, all things are clear.
the reticulation of me,   a harness in the mouth,   tin sheets or copper settled there.


when I hear you,
pass in, it is this webbing of myself that touches you.
so placing with the deliberateness of all self-history to rouse up pain.


I am a liar now, and my wanting now all poison.
the earth I swallow up at speed for you, my monster, I am out of blames.


honestly, I am out of desire--
            dry grass kneeling in the white sun six am.   in the sheer gown,
hair tied and cupped and
you there, sleeping for a long while more, outside the ring,
outside the reach of my waning.





Alyssa Morhardt-Goldstein is the founding editor of SOUND — a literary magazine on contemporary musico-poetics, co-creator of Diorama — a poetry and collaborative music salon in NYC, and is the author of Quiet (2013) — winner of The New School University’s 2012 Chapbook Contest for poetry. This year her libretto will be featured in the premiere of composer Jonathan Dawe’s fractal operatic retelling of Tamburlaine.