To All the Lifeless Parts of Florida
You slant in the driver’s seat, stilling
towards sleep, as I keep vigil, shape our route.
When you wake, I will show you how home
shifts on the atlas in our absence.
Together we salvage loss’s rough objects,
knees still dusted with sand.
To the left, palm husks in single file.
The right, shotgun stammer of love
and her shy sister, grief, lately lamed.
White Tail Drive: Litany
Behind the work table, tilted,
wood from the flood of ’85.
Recollection of sunflowers grown
our second summer. Or the dried roses,
the peonies. How quickly
life raised itself from the dirt.
Your grandfather’s carved initials
on the underside of the benches
near the front door. His ashes
in the curio and the miles we drove
to greet them, to settle him here, inside
what he built. That we all walk
room to room, loss to loss.
How the dead tree braces itself through
every storm, despite the odds.
A dozen rooms in which I fell in love
with your childhood’s reverberations:
the holiday wreath of your stamped
hands in the kitchen; every wall, quilts
into which grandmother sewed
your name. Three buck heads mounted
in the garage. Bob Dylan singing &
my coming home too drunk to say
Honey, just allow me one more chance
to get along with you. What we forgot
to throw away that still cuts us.
I bandage your knuckles here,
and here, place a tapestry over
each of the holes. How they never
fill themselves. Spice rack and guest
sheets, things we do not use. The stacks
of 90s Playboys in the storage room,
well-thumbed. That you have always
been most beautiful to me when you
mow the grass and cut-n-curse
the satellite cord. That I do not tell you
anything enough. The long snake
of our driveway, how it seems longer
when it snows. Of the pleasure
of daylight in the kitchen;
of waking up in your breath.
Heroides II: Phyllis to Demophoon
Listen, it is not that I miss your hands,
more that I miss their rough language
and the months it took me to decipher
ours, this cactus-spike speech. Remember
tidal mornings by your sailboat, how water
runs through us both. I’ve not forgotten.
. Rivers I saved for you,
crossings—and still your absence blues.
I would have married you twice in this month
you left. For you, I breed almond, make
of myself branches, retreat from harbors
and men with ships. I hope you come home
from slow-travelled seas and sunburned reef
to cry at my bark, to hold me: I would leaf.
Morgan Blalock graduated from Hollins University with degrees in creative writing and classical philology. Her work can be found in Cutbank, The Adroit Journal, Appalachian Heritage, New Plains Review, and many more. Her manuscript was a finalist for the 2018 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize.