Cross-legged on the hospital bed, you explain to me how every page
in your journal can be read like a palindrome and about the bridge
over the troubled waters of the river Styx and the human sacrifice
in the Shakespeare tragedy and the sunbeams in the R.E.M. music video
and the mermaid cats in the coloring book and the man in the movie
hanging posters on street corners and your favorite word in Gaelic and
the alternate spelling of your favorite word in Gaelic and the same word
in Spanish and you kiss me because it calms you and you kiss me
because it calms you and you pause to breath with slow and shivering
exhale. You’ve taken out your septum ring because you’ve come to terms
with your brother’s suicide. You’ve drawn a compass onto an Ace of Spades;
I clutch the card in my hand as if it will guide me through this maze
of symbol, but you are already so many metaphors ahead of me, as you
brush the curls out of my hair and braid and unbraid and braid and
unbraid as if trying to weave all this into a thing I can understand.
Monica J. Claesson’s current and forthcoming publications include journals such as The Tampa Review, Ascent, The Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Cream City Review, Fields, and The Alalitcom. Her poetry won the 2015 University of Nebraska Undergraduate Poetry Award, the 2014 and 2015 Laurus Poetry Awards, the 2016 Vreeland Award for Poetry, and placed in the 2011 Alabama Writer’s Conclave Poetry Division.