You gaze at me from above my desk,
unsmiling, eyes daring me, well met
by the lens and fixed. Vexed,
you seem, at standing still. Your body
so small in the jaw of the world—
shoulders pressed forward into
labor’s cast. Quiet and radical and fast.
Fisher of men. Thief. Spy. Most faithless
slave, most faithful sister. It’s a refuge
now, the swamp where you were forced
to plan. And hide and wait. Freeze
and scrounge. Shit and ache and say
goodbye. And travel light. Out
Bestpitch Road, I stand on a bridge,
above still waters that you knew well,
a thick and weedy, fecund hell. A day-
rose moon outshines my face. Weedy
creepers, waters deeper than these boots,
and odors whipping clean away all traces
of my fine perfumes. What blessing
would I have asked back then—
of this refuge, of this both safe
and hostile place? A dryish space
to tuck my head. To rest my bones
as long as the dead.

From Things I Didn’t Do With This Body by Amanda Gunn. Copyright © 2023 by Amanda Gunn. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC, on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.