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Four Poems
Stacy, Even in the Dream

Where I could have anything
I wanted, it was just the back
of your head, the mane of dark

wig I custom chose for you.
And even then I could access
nothing from it but your aloof

way of being in the world,
like if you could put your hands
in your pockets that’s what

you’d do. Like you were always
waiting in line for something
just vaguely wanted. What makes us

more human than waiting.
I waited for you for over twelve
months as they hand-stitched

each eyelash into you. You came
out of the box as if you’d seen
a ghost, as if you were waking up

after a hundred years of restful
sleep. Stacy, you looked at me
as if my face were a shallow pool

you could only push so far into
with your giant eyes. That’s why
I always turned you over.

And when I closed them forever
that, too, felt good. And then
I pushed even deeper into you,

your body’s tomb, Romeo at last.



Would that the Argo had never winged its way—
Would that the pine trees had never been felled—

But it did. And they were. Our sick luck

like a hot stream of gastric waste filling a bucket
behind a shack, the white buttocks of the man

in the sky as he bends over to attend to some

plywood project in his yard, the two holes (mouth
and ass) purging in unison toward a cleanliness

of body and mind, Another Time, one full of pine

trees—      and the child running through them
untouched, her body in relief, her body a mind—

(he exerts his giant hammer upon his tiny nail)—


And Now I Am Old, and Sad, and Prepared for
Whatever Average Fortune Throws My Way

Head-sick, I bowed. And when I bowed the soul
quieted. The inland fires dimmed. Each time
I went low its awful pain retracted briefly. So I went.
Low, and then lower still. I believed I was a dancer,
bending ever downward just for it. The soul
remembers all of this. How I swept the floor
with my golden hair. How I fed it watermelon and
wine from a porcelain dish. How I called it “teacher”
and it called me “teacher’s pet.” I was so sick.
And yet its substance remained intact. It was so kind
to me. It sucked nectars from the raw air into
a tiny straw, and held that very straw up to my lips.
It was so brilliant, and compact. It rode me and I
rode it, as if for sport—a stricken magic we together
made from the intricate contents of my horror.
But then one day I woke up and the world had returned—
children walking to school beneath gargantuan
backpacks containing easy homework and deli meat
sandwiches. And beyond them, in the sunflower fields,
just darkened circles where the fires had been.


Mother Daughter Story

Because the harrowing
was over, we thought
we could fall in love again,

we thought because
the siren’s red light
grew so warm

when slid like paper
through the closed blinds
(she had closed them out of instinct)

and the white flash
had a kind of magic
to it, going away from us,

growing quieter
and quieter
that everything would be fine—

We thought we were fine,
our bodies untouched,
our heads still on

though he had told us
(Unless unless he said and said—)

Though we had made ourselves
and then even smaller

than that
inside the room where we hunched
over our lives

(pathetic fires
on a windy plain)—
I held hers and she held mine

until we became the same
so the mother could never hold

the child again, they were just
one big blob
of flesh and meat, meat and fear—

Even in peace
as she moved through a room
to vacuum while I watched TV

it was like her hands were my hands, her feet
my feet—
And then the season changed

and with it the trees
so it was like we were living
in an entirely different world

so there was hope, you see, and
we thought in this way
we could fall in love again,

face to perfect face.

Bridget Lowe is the author of At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky (Carnegie Mellon University Press). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Poetry, The New Republic, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. Her honors include the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America, a “Discovery”/Boston Review prize, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship to the MacDowell Colony, and a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference fellowship. She lives in Kansas City.