Carmen Americanum


By C.



I feel your absence as if it were present

Physically present, an incubus, an emanation

A carbuncle of ice that chills me

Hexes me into the doped inertia of unfeeling.


Now that I think of it, the ice must have

Always been there, even when your warmth was present

Not even your body holding mine at night

Ever made it sublime into the thin air of winter


For even in your presence I could already feel your absence

I could see the invisible future, your untimely evaporation

Your warmth dissipated and the carbuncle still there

The memory of you not enough to make me feel again


You yourself used to tell me not to pay heed to any of it—

No, I was to bask in the light of my personal sun,

To pretend that June could never turn into December,

That fall could turn into summer forever.


Yet it is February now and I have never felt this cold—

I have never been this cold—

All I’ve inherited from you is a frigidity of heart

That no other summer can thaw.


“But you’ve lived without him for how long,

19 years? You know how to live without him.”

The problem, my dear friend, has never been

Living without the invisible, the unknown


Life is too quick to teach us to have,

And we are too quick to learn it.

But no one teaches us to unhave—

In that case, to educate is to punish.


And yet I did not know the beauty behind suffering—

The poetics of pain, the lurid, luscious glimmer

Of the thick crimson drops of blood that again

Seep out freely out of my heart to land, frozen, on the page.