by Beth Seetch

Just before a) Death
We sleep upside-down,
toes at bed’s head, pajama seams chafing
our buttons tender unless we remember
to turn them inside-out and put
cold spoons under our pillows.
Walking slow in fast snow, we pass
blue houses. The houses we leave
leaven into loaves
like shoes full of gifts.

Miss Torres woke us
early just before b) Dawn
We forget our silent-movie dreams
and dance to dress our tops
and bottoms. We carry her
lilacs and open our books,
confident in our heads
and the pages that shade them.

Miss Torres woke us
early just before c) Dusk
We will not chisel our desks
with our pencils, grind
days between our molars, or lapse
into tired sedimentary naps.
Our ankles will never be pestles,
work gristle to sidewalk cement, for

Miss Torres woke us
early just before d) Dark
Patron of silence and saint of deep bridges,
of running water and listening,
she guides one finger to her lips.
Five stars round her head crown us
against the vertigo of almost falling
back into sleep. The clear
sound of her horn cheers us.

Beth SeetchBeth Seetch is a Chicagoan living in Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, River Styx, SIC Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Three Rivers Poetry Journal and beyond. Her letterpress chapbook, Loose Mary, Bedridden, was published at Wells College Center for Book Arts (2012). She was awarded a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Literature Fellowship. An independent editor, writer, and book artist, she also collaborates with visual artists.


Image credit: John Everett Millais, “Waking”, 1864, on Flickr

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