Still Life (a poem)

Still Life

for Sarah Fisher – happy birthday. My apologies that this poem isn’t about you. I felt I had to give you something, and unfortunately, all I could think of was this story, that we’ve all heard over and over.

“Now I believe that lovers should be draped in flowers
And laid entwined together on a bed of clover
And left there to sleep
Left there to dream of their happiness”

– Bright Eyes, “A Perfect Sonnet”

“But if the world could remain within a frame
Like a painting on a wall
Then I think we’d see the beauty then
And stand staring in awe
At our still lives posed
Like a bowl of oranges
Like a story told
By the fault lines and the soil”

– Bright Eyes

I used to walk
under the stars
over and over –
waiting for a shooting star
to make a wish.

She used to part
with those clothes
worn and torn –
throwing aside what was
for her hopes.

And I used to see her
In paintings.
And in those perfect lines,
nothing ever wore out,
not even the heart,
as Keats said.

But we both wore out.
Bathed in light,
I never could cry.
Somewhere I knew
the only lines at fault
defined the sum of us.

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