View Archives by:


for the cradling of hands

Arianne Zwartjes

◘ ◘ ◘

the truck will pull into the driveway as always. this afternoon, the beginning of a
plunge. a ladder visible over the fence, swaying at its high end. swayingly, we go.

lost, our certainty of what green is. nothing is the same anymore. closets and
closets full of dresses hang stiff and unchanging: crinoline, starch, so much more.
even the sky is merciless.

we are raw oysters to be scooped or not scooped. a broke-necked swan.

◘ ◘ ◘

I could say, buttoned in. could say, some cage.

a gust of birds advances up the arm. it garlics around me.

I peel and peel.

we find every date, every zip code, every number of our life condensed into a small
hard ball in the pancreas. what will your numbers add up to.

a subtle shredding of such furniture. the bench agonizing over the chair beside it.
how bodies shift slightly when they sway. this body, swaying.

◘ ◘ ◘

bodies pare down over time to small letters, endstop, to names which are ascribed
to them. cancer. sclerosis. alzheimers. they are us and not-us. we can leave
them, and do, we can be notpresent, we can leave behind nothing but a body.
at night, in the ICU, with family sobbing around us, or more simply, every day,
small bits of us, gone.

aren’t we all something broken, and don’t we keep breaking every day.

◘ ◘ ◘

the poet who drowned in the ocean was burned on the beach. his heart,
unburnable, retrieved from within the cage of his ribs. his wife watched and what
did she think of body then. watching skin turn to the whitest of ashes. white as

the waves and how they never stop coming. they, also, white in the evening dim.

Arianne Zwartjes

Read Bio

Author Discusses Poems