Two Poems
Michelle Greenblatt

Mostly What She Holds
'Going forwards may be he same as going backwards. . .
(A silence a long silence).'
Gertrude Stein, "The Mother of Us All"

1. As if we are going to fix this. Remember
then, the collusion
of an annealing spectrum
& ampersanded apologies where commissure
sp/lit, epiglottis casually flapping.

I may have drowned from eating.
I might have asphyxiated while breathing.

2. the bomb
later that day
the memory of that
gluey day when I wrote
the unlove waltzed
into the room
with pictures of me
I have never seen.

3. Now I have to force it because going forwards is the same as going backwards

Circle the circles The taste in my throat, worse than the last tablespoon of bile vomited

from a retching, heaving body


Some days a woman swaggers out to draw water
from the third well Mostly what she holds is an overflow

of spillover of emptiness I don't do anything to stop
all the talking I say to myself I say So, I'll find

the fulcrum later then there is a silence I am talking
uncontrollably about distraction I try to explain

it takes more than just a diamond to scratch a diamond --
there is a certain fucking motion a similarity to the tearing

of a plain white napkin a poem up & down strokes
scribbled so urgently the pen rips the thin white layered sheets.

4. I first met her
(in April; -- the cruelest month, is it not?)
as she touched her fingers to mine. we had

to meet that way,
it was the only way we could meet,
there was a silence it was long it was a long silence

5. Under the mattress of memories
(haphazardly flipped to minimize the blood stain.
Another bad dream. Cold is the wide water which

always knew this place as my blood, diagnosed,
by a single pulse, the operculum gauzy
white meeting at the nexus of sky & ocean,

sieve of the horizon. Dirtwashing
water granular against
my breasts & stomach, moontrail to pick up

the flesh that spilt from the carafe
of clouds. In the notebook with the cream-
clot colored pages I bisect my poetry:

in one column, a necrology, in the other,
possible revenants. Breathe, says the
hand over my dusty mouth.


I am an anecdote, right? Or many
of them. If I died tonight, I would grab your

blind hands, sunless, treeless