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Amie Whittemore

Amie Whittemore received a BA from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, an MAT from Lewis and Clark College, and an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She is the author of Glass Harvest (Autumn House Press, 2016) and teaches English at Middle Tennessee State University.

Read about Amie Whittemore’s 2020 Poets Laureate Fellowship project.

By This Poet

3

Ghosting Aubade

The air smells soft today and of the past,
redbuds dispersing their ruby secrets,

myself among them. I kept the body
taut with thirst, so that it thrived without.

Then, this new man, suspect as always, showed
up, glinting like he knew which songs I liked.

What I know of him fits within my palms:
his twin scars but not their cause. His lamb’s wool

voice and canvas shoes. A lavender net.
What I know of love fits inside my mouth.

The air smells soft today and of the past.
I robe myself in gray and green.

Some come to us in the perfection
of their frailty, some leave us by it.

Lunar Eclipse

Though I marked my calendar, I’ll forget to watch
earth paint the moon gray, then black, then white again.

White as toothache, dry elbow skin, a crown of bones,
as, I imagine, a narwhal’s tusk, though I’ve never seen one.

Tonight I’d dip that tusk in my wine glass
to prevent all future hangovers, all future gloomy

moods where I pretend I’ll look up the etymology
of melancholia, but don’t. Where I pretend I need

a spouse to soothe me—but I don’t. Like—I won’t say
earth or moon—but like a shovel, I’m purposeful

but often idle. Collecting cobwebs is a passing,
though fulfilling hobby. Someday I hope to be less

shovel, more soil. Prepped for roots, for thriving—
Love, I want to say (to whom, I’m not sure),

I’ve come to a different power tonight.
This is the self stripped of alimonies, stripped of pearls.

Unforgiveable, unrelenting, cherished by no one—
not you, wife, nor you, husband. Not even you

dear moon, whom I want to see cloaked
but won’t. Clouds tonight. Bats beading them.

At least, I think so. Maybe smaller darknesses
are just that—smaller, and thus, personable.

Spell for the End of Grief

No incantations, no rosemary and statice,
no keening women in grim dresses.
No cauldrons, no candles, no hickory wands.
No honey and chocolate, no sticky buns.
No peonies and carnations, no handkerchiefs.
No dark and lusty liaisons.

Only you and me to see it out.
Sweet self, let me wash your toes,
brush your hair, let me rock you gently.
Together we’ll change the sheets
and I’ll pull you to me, little spoon.
You be the marrow, I’ll be the bone.