Forgive Me: A Cento

Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Another poem from my forthcoming collection a woman made entirely of air (Dancing Girl Press, 2023). This is a NaPoWriMo effort! I wrote the first draft on April 13, 2020. It was first published, along with Cargo, in Tinderbox Poetry Journal in the fall of the same year.

Forgive Me: A Cento

What moves through the human body
			                away from 
		           our silence 
knows forgiveness. Miles from the limits 
	     of whatever is 
		           slow as black smoke, 
the sky forgives. 

Don't wait for anything else.
			                We become muzzles
		           sealed with stubborness.
Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.
	     This is the way water
		           remains upon the sun,
red with pain’s leaping ember.

Anything more from you now--
			                rich bass notes 
		           from walnut speakers, 
inebriation, more ink--
	     measured against all the dark,
		           is a world.
I am not any closer to saying what I mean.

Listen to what the water says.
			                Let meaning 
		           burrow into molars.
I am a fool. Even as the red impatiens 
	     wither and brown, 
		           forgive me. 
Hear the leaves? I am already memory.

Sources: [Meredith Stricker, Cristopher Soto, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Denis Johnson, Tommy Archuleta, Monica Youn, Elizabeth Willis, Myriam Moscona, Leonora Speyer, Rodney Gomez, Terese Svoboda, Joshua Beckman, Jane Hirshfield (1), (2), (3), Jean Valentine, Dan Albergotti, Felicia Zamora, Allison Benis White, Sam Hamill, January Gill O'Neill, Rita Dove]

First published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, Fall 2020

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