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The First Day (2010) – after Marianne Boruch

Beth Gordon

We woke up the next day & the remember was sitting on the floor just inside the bedroom door. This was the first of many surprises. That shampoo was needed was the second. I do want to remember your skin. The smell of your neck like a field of tobacco. Before is a circle of trees. The inner bark peeled to reveal pale white wood. As white as my thighs. I’m sure there were mulberries. I don’t mean mulberries & you inside the bedroom door. I mean I want the mulberries to always be. Before is a crow walking across the black asphalt parking lot. Before is a crow with one eye on the eastward floating cloud. Clouds without decipherable shapes. Now they are flying dogs or blooming sunflowers. The crow. The clouds. The mulberries. The empty shampoo bottle. No shampoo & a funeral waiting. I do remember what the text said. I don’t remember if you were telling the truth. Never is the pair of amber earrings. Never is the pay phone inside the laundromat. Never did I have enough quarters. We woke up the next day after the next day & you were not washing your hair. Never is a shower or a shopping list. The bedroom door is always open. We are gliding in or out.

Beth Gordon is a poet, mother and grandmother currently living in Asheville, NC. She is the author of several books including The Water Cycle (Variant Literature, 2022). Beth is Managing Editor of Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, Assistant Editor of Animal Heart Press, and Grandma of Femme Salve Books. Twitter and Instagram @bethgordonpoet.