Jess Bolluyt is a senior at Cedar Crest College in eastern Pennsylvania. She experiments in poetry and fiction, and writes and edits for the college’s student newspaper. Her work has appeared in The Laconic, Pitch, and Onyx.
it’s like glimpsing the world’s secret among the empty aquariums and
a perturbation of the light.
When I went out to kill myself, I caught
movements, and the slow feet,
I saw those unforgiven ghosts
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in
the cottage ruins, the brown abandoned land.
None of the books has ever got it right:
all they want is to be kissed.
Nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the stain of love.
How often now, raging weeping for the days
we watched the hurtling lights,
I think I should have loved you presently,
who did not dream of being touched.
You are like me, you will die too, but not today:
this is not a story of return.
This is not the moment for such a resurrection, Un-God would have said.
I can cry but I can’t wake up,
no more by thee my steps shall be,
for the soul is a wanderer with many hands and feet.
You have forgotten me well.
I feel you are just a little.
I have nothing new to say about death.
SOURCES (in order): Sylvia Plath, “Lady Lazarus;” Charles Simic, “Miss Nostradamus;” Stanley Kunitz, “End of Summer;” James Wright, “Saint Judas;” Ezra Pound, “The Return;” Regie Cabico, “Hansel Tells Gretel of the Witch;” Allen Ginsberg, “Howl;” Thomas P. Lynch, “Himself;” Elizabeth Bishop, “Crusoe in England;” Andrei Codrescu, “soaking in rich people’s tubs;” e.e. cummings, “somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond;” William Carlos Williams, “Love Song;” W.S. DiPiero, “What’s Left;” D. Nurske, “Space Marriage;” Edna St. Vincent Millay, “I think I should have loved you presently;” Tony Hoagland, “In a Quiet Town by the Sea;” Reginald Shepherd, “You, Therefore;” Stacie Cassarino, “Snowshoe to Otter Creek;” Ruxanda Ceresnau, “Letter to American Poets;” Jean Valentine, “The Knife;” Alfred Lord Tennyson, “A Farewell;” Joy Harjo, “A Map to the Next World;” Gwendolyn Brooks, “when you have forgotten Sunday: the love story;” May Swenson, “Bleeding;” Sherman Alexie, “Inside Dachau”