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Elegy to a Higher Love
after Isis and Osiris

I.

I have wanted to be you,
yet finding the stars unlit.

 

II.

 

Atalanta, how we never loved her
How she became the year you were born in,
How she became your wedding day.

Grandad called her sister and her
Brother called her Mom, and
her Mother called O, Boop de
Boop, come tie my necklace on—

 

III.

Distortion.

 

IV.

Allegiance
to you
surpasses
the human

 

V.

                      Your belt, now lying
   on the ground, a snake that made its
         way, encircling my thigh
      then up to
                                       pierce
my heart and swallow
        whole
                 its beating.

 

VI.

Resurrected from the dead, your physical body not whole, fragments
Missing, you were dressed in a bathrobe as you must have been
Then, when you died.  A wrinkled robe, tired smile holding
Me in your death grip, kissing my eyes, drawing a careful
Circle over the North American continent and its surrounding
Oceans.  A shaky effort but when you were done a perfect
Roundness you joined with another circle on the
Other side of the world, Asia.  Two sides of a coin, an
Offering for my firstborn.  You retreated then, back into the
Realm of the damned, and I became like Echo chasing after.

 

VII.

Soft and round like a whale, the head of a whale slipping past our open hands.

 

VIII.

Breaking a tablet of Ativan, feeding on the body, tranquility.

 

IX.

How much gin could a gin drunk drink if a gin drunk couldn't get drunk.

 

X.

At Grandfather's funeral, the cake moldering in our mouths.  Grandfather an orphan.  And you, they thought you were a rogue, but to me you seemed sophisticated, debonair,

 

XI.

an attitude I admired,

 

XII.

and now, after hanging around for so long and so oppressively, you’ve disappeared.  Desperate for misery, for both of us, I’ll call you, I promise, in a dream.

 

XIII.

 

                  See now, the death of a lake
                  All filled in with dirt.
                  I tried to swim,
                  Diving headfirst in mud,     
                  My eyes open, seeing

                  Nothing.
                  Darkness and getting
                  Nowhere

 

XIV.

while everywhere else there is water, the whole rest of the
world, light translucent water, good for seeing and swimming in.

 

 

 

 

[Morgan Harlow has poems, stories and other writing published or forthcoming in War, Literature & the Arts, Tusculum Review, Washington Square, Descant, Seneca Review, The Cortland Review, West Wind Review, Otoliths, Nthposition, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds an MFA from George Mason University.]

Copyright © 2011 by Morgan Harlow, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.