J. Mae Barizo

Pain resurfaced, exiting out of my arms.
In the dream was the face of your father but not my father.
In that way I knew he had taken you with him. Music, a tortuous path.

Therefore grief is ascribed to the body.
A force fluctuating over time.

We believe that when abandoned, every mechanical element
of the body is subject to a voice perhaps, or an animal sound.

But I wanted to write about the music inside the music.

The sound inside the cortex: a quaint and open-mouthed syllable, sloping down.

Your skin in this weather, the loud sound.


Once the arm is attached, the non-logic of connective tissue
would allow cells to pass in and out of the material, as in normal bones.
In the first instance when the fingers pressed down.
The Haydn Sonata, for example. Or the photograph where you lie in the grass looking at the woman who is not in the photograph.


Connective tissue can stay in the contracted state for hours.
Arms may be locked in any position; movement occurs
with the mind softening, touch that warrants.
In this way you could attach to me whatever it was I longed for.
Your death: a cigarette burn on the left side of the sternum.
An evening etched on skin. Cock-hard.


A falling off from a world one cannot give birth to.
Room of undiluted light. The Adagio of the Haydn
Sonata; sound inside of another sound, stripped down.
There is a woman outside of the photograph, an
underlying ostinato of desire. Therefore connective
tissue forms rope-like structures which sheath the bone.
Prosthesis attached to a plurality of filaments.
Then the skin, that organ of fire.


You told me the story of your father’s death before
it was written, blood flowing out of the shithole.
Time which is the ruin of all things.
Your wrist across my breast bone like a whisper or a threat.


Pack and get dressed darling, your skin
in this weather will shine. Our love is ruled
by cold stars. Can one walk with tenderness?
Andante con tenerezza: white on white.
The heart is a syringe, the sky gunning us down.
I enter and you fade further.
The air is clean as snow.


J. Mae Barizo is the author of The Marble Palace. She is the editor of The Aviary (www.theaviaryonline.com). New poems appear or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Prairie Schooner, Denver Quarterly and DMQ review.

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