Published on Academy of American Poets (

Had the Vines Budded, Were the Pomegranates in Bloom

My old lover was Catholic and lied to me about the smallest things. Now he's dying and I'm trying to forgive everyone standing in line ahead of me at the grocery store. I keep painting objects intuitively. I keep saying I've never been in love. It's not quite true but I keep describing the same things differently, as sailboats through the locks of reversed rivers or as streaks of red across the sky, visible only in one eye. The sensation of decision-making won't stay put. I forget who I am and wake up exhausted. I had a teacher once who died, it was as if she removed herself into the forest. I scatter leaves to read them like pages as if she's speaking. She was in love. I don't know if I'm worried I will or won't ever give up my fictional autonomy. I'm choosing between two trees with two hollows. One begins breaking as I step inside, as I try to sleep. The other is already inhabited by a rooster. I pluck a feather and run to the pawn shop. How much is this worth? Can I buy it back for my Sunday best, for the suit I never wear? Maybe if I go to the church I don't believe in I'll meet a man I can. I'll wear my Jewish star and pray for his belief to convince me that I too want someone to hold my stare.


Copyright © 2019 by S. Brook Corfman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 16, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I adore the prose poem, because it refuses immediate knowledge—the only way to learn about an individual prose poem's rhythm or structure is to enter. In this poem, a late teacher of mine who wrote brilliantly about illness, landscape, and love surprised me by appearing at the center, leading me into and out of uncertainty about a series of choices: love, but also religion, gender. A friend read the poem and sent me Song of Songs 6:11, from which the title, rearranged, emerged.”
S. Brook Corfman


S. Brook Corfman

S. Brook Corfman is the author of Luxury, Blue Lace (Autumn House Press, 2019), chosen by Richard Siken for the Autumn House Rising Writer Prize.

Date Published: 2019-08-16

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