All that will remain after an apocalypse is glitter. – British Vogue
You have a daughter now. it’s everywhere, And often in the company of glue. You can’t get rid of it. It’s in her hair: A wink of pink, a glint of silver-blue. It’s catching, like the chicken pox, or lice. Its travels, like a planetary scar. Sometimes its on your face, or you look twice And glimpse, there on your arm, a single star. You know it by a hand’s brushing your neck – You blush – It’s not desire, not anymore – Just someone’s urge to flick away the fleck Of borrowed glamour from your collarbone – The broken mirror Time will not restore, The way your daughter marks you as her own.
The Pull Toy
by A. E. Stallings
You squeezed its leash in your fist, It followed where you led: Tick, tock, tick, tock, Nodding its wooden head.
Wagging a tail on a spring, Its wheels gearing lackety-clack, Dogging your heels the length of the house, Though you seldom glanced back.
It didn’t mind being dragged When it toppled on its side Scraping its coat of primary colors: Love has no pride.
But now that you run and climb And leap, it has no hope Of keeping up, so it sits, hunched At the end of its short rope
And dreams of a rummage sale Where it’s snapped up for a song, And of somebody—somebody just like you— Stringing it along
After the argument, all things were strange. They stood divided by their eloquence Which had surprised them after so much silence. Now there were real things to rearrange. Words betokened deeds, but they were both Lightened briefly, and they were inclined To be kind as sometime strangers can be kind. It was as if, out of the undergrowth, They stepped into a clearing and a sun, Machetes still in hand. Something was done, But how they did not fully realize. Something was beginning. Something would stem And branch from this one moment. Something made Them both look up into each other’s eyes Because they both were suddenly afraid And there was no one now to comfort them.
Both Levertov and Stallings draw inspiration from their families, each with a personal voice and poetic vision, but in very different forms. Stallings has the ability to craft highly structured poems that read smoothly, the rhyme and structure doesn’t feel forced or artificial. This is extremely hard to do and I find the craft of Stallings work remarable. No less skilled though is Levertov’s ability to create emotion through simplicity. Levertov picks her words with care and places them with a deft touch. Each of these poems come at the reality of partnership/marriage that is at once both uncomfortable as it is beautiful. A reminder that love moves along all the spectrums of emotion and not just in one direction.
The Ache Of Marriage
by Denise Levertov
The ache of marriage:
thigh and tongue, beloved, are heavy with it, it throbs in the teeth
We look for communion and are turned away, beloved, each and each
It is leviathan and we in its belly looking for joy, some joy not to be known outside it