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Lisa Sewell

By This Poet

4

Letter from a Haunted Room

Dear K., there’s a mosquito stain
between the pages of your book, a streak
of platelets beside my index finger.
The broken microscopic cells have escaped
the hurly-burly of the wide aorta, the stark
unholy flow through veins and tubules.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mistake
anatomy for emotion. My heart is meat
and gristle, like Artaud’s: a simple
pump, it never falters. If I weep
it’s for the rocking chair, three knocks
embedded in the nursery wall.
On one window, I found instructions:
“Here, no cares invade, all sorrows
cease” in almost perfect iambs.
Forgive me. I tried to keep them
“far outside” but they marched right up
to my room. All month they’ve been waving
tenuous arms. Have you seen them?
What could I do but let them in
and let them rest in your favorite chair. Soon
they’ll disappear or I will. In the afternoons
(do you remember?) light falls
or spills, spills or falls through the amber
stained-glass windows. It lifts my spirits
but I’m still waiting for you to appear
at the edge of my bed with a message. Think
of the ruins I could have traveled to
by now, think of the days I’ve wasted
lying on the pink divan, a stand of hawthorns
blocking my view of the rose garden,
my American Beauty, already fully blown.