Materia physica

The man who taught me
How to sit in silence
Looked like Death
From Central Casting, designed
For the black silk cape he wore
To the ballet, half-mannequin.
Every time, I look for the chair,
The place for me beside every you.
Your suffering is a sea, a fog, a forest,
It is code, gesso, the overture,
The British railway in the black-out,
Sign-less. I am not a compass or a buoy,
The cellist stroking rosin on her bow.
I am the person trying to be real,
To be quiet and heavy,
To leave the classroom.



The doe lay on the side of the road,
Her legs drawn up to her light belly.
She blocked the way for bicycles,
Sprawled, like a star with her angles,
Nowhere for spoked circles to glide past.
Her eyes were closed and her soft face,
Shellacked onto her creature’s skull,
Was tucked away. She was somewhere
Between dead and a fisted drawing
Of a dead doe, rendered with oils,
A black line beginning the shadow
Beneath her. The fields on either side,
Cockleshells enclosing us, were white
With the frost’s first sugaring, more speckled
Than mother-of-pearl. She had cut no trail.
We were on our way to the orchard, apple-hung.
Their red skins would veil our eyes bloodshot
As we avoided slender yellow-jackets suckling
On the ground’s fruit. The fields would throw off
The glassy cold when we returned,
The car sweet inside like a ciderhouse.


Daisy Bassen has a bio coming soon!