the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




FIVE WORKS
BY MARIA THERESA

FORGIVEN

I have forgiven you for dying
it just so happens
there is no excuse
for these things
they come and go
like fever or cracked records

a phrase isolates itself
 then jumps
back to its umbilical chord
asking nothing of its listener
but the moment
it takes to consider something
                out of context

your watch left unwound
on the kitchen counter
for example

forgive me
all I ever remember
is the body that went with it

================

It's the length that kills me
not the sharp turn as I veer off the center
lane and find myself staring
vertigo in the eye, the old pimp
who sells his women to the sky
and leads them in directions odd as pregnancy
by degrees months short of right angles
this is the altitude of avalanches and crooked ambition
that beckons the innocents
to cast themselves off precipices
and into some sort of winter air
for a rush as white as heroin

================

TRIAL

Having received the death sentence
was the world enough? did the sky become
pointless as concrete? or were the stars close and soft
enough to swallow? lying here you do not
stir the air with laughter, your kiss is
cool and stiff as satin, your dress less
ordinary, and I, foolishly, would have sentenced myself
without defense to avoid trial or worse,
I thought, acquittal

as you shrink now into your skin
of marble and flowers
I leave my own death with catholic footsteps
and your smile lingers like a mona lisa

================

I think you wanted me to notice
you but there were things I couldn't
bring myself to tell you

so when I came to visit and you spoke
of your chipped china, Asian
economy and your mother's purple fever

I sat down
and bled somebody else's life
onto your new carpet

================

I am tired of dying
these days it's all there is to do
not even I in my orange shift and greasy hair
fingers thick with yesterday's contemplations
have anymore to offer
the room crumbles with effort and I realise
I have moved my furniture for the last time