I know exactly
though I say nothing. Reticence
is an art, surprising me
as I fumble with knives
and everything else, scarred
from years of being inept
yet still cooking.
I think of creamy daphne
opening in the cold weeks of spring
for her display
of staying power,
the ridiculous bravery of that
scent, tangible petals opening
an invisible letter--- me, I know
so many meager things,
when to be silent,
when to go.
When I see your ear
I want to touch it
or draw it
or trace it with my pencil, nothing
sharp, only my tongue.
Yesterday you spoke of me
being your last lover
though you said you would not
be my last. Were you speaking
of death, betrayal, fate? I couldn't hear
what you meant. I was looking at your ear.
touches your face
a few minutes.
There's the age difference,
the past addiction,
the economic gap. So many
things, like a spilt box of matches
in my hands, all going
different ways, ready to go off.
flames its way into my hair,
a brighter red, the thing
that catches your eye.
Now you're painting
landscapes, the biggest challenge,
you say. Maybe I wasn't meant
to hold still for you, to model
the female body's decline.
moving through the deep part of the trees,
that speck you can't see any more
than you can see
your own ear.
Here, let me touch it.
I know just how the shadows go,
how it feels to move close,
Cecelia Hagen was Fiction Editor for the Northwest
Review for many years. Her work has been published in Portlandia,
Exquisite Corpse, Prairie Schooner, Poet & Critic, Puerto del Sol,
and in the book, From Where We Speak, an anthology of Oregon poets.
She has a chapbook forthcoming at the end of this year from 26 Books
Press. Cecelia Hagen is currently the featured poet in Caffeine