Three Poems

by C.L. Cummings


photograph of wine bottle
surrendered to carpet
already leaking
hand outstretched
already missed it

photograph of her
already kneeling
napkin seethed
in solution
central air rushing
to fill dining room

picture gooseflesh

picture grief
there in front of us

soaked beneath rug
down to linoleum
she hadn’t touched in years
pink with disaster
immune to her scrubbing

picture tongues stalled

she and I
left there then

thinking only of
how to get it clean

It’s All The Same in the Dark

The question be not
if I love you still,
but whether you deserve
a love like mine.
If I, like yours.
The answer need
not be spoken.

I can’t touch the air
in my lungs,
but know that it is there,
feel it stack high
in my throat;
this is what we’ve become.
I lean back and
let it go,
am ready to snap
back and release again
should it return.

She holds me tonight,
and I know it probable
that you are also being held
in the cover of the dead dark
like handle bars
on the descend.
I roll over to do the holding
in a bed that now
carries my scent,
greets me with myself,
dips to my weight
and holds its place
until I come back—
and I come back—
then I know it possible too
to find you reaching
into that quiet space,
grasping at a shadow,
a spirit song
on the air, a smell
you can trace,


scale the citadel of memory’s keeping
set aquiver that monster of brass
at the belfry, brash and bellowing
at the apex of salvation’s implication,
undoing the done before this

this is bodies in a church house
heads bowed to a pine box

this is brewing ways
to make the dead
stay that way,
to keep the fallen

(you unzip her from your coat
shake her dust her from your collar
like snow or dandruff)

birth new methods of forgetting
when forgetfulness has forgotten itself

(she is not dead
to everyone)

(she is dead
though not to everyone)

this is cutting trees
this is deforestation
preassembled caskets
unmarked graves
this is the denial of survival
fire hose to black bodies

(if recalling her lemon wedge of a smile
remember only how bitter it was bound to be)

Definitively, C.L. Cummings does editorial things at Currently, all other aspects of her life are up in the air.