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Lorelei Bacht

4. Unlearning the voice of my lover.

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These walls are thick, what can I say,
a brick is thick - and I have not run out,
although I have

run out of imagined conversations with
you. There is no you, only

my desire for him, proven unrequited
by brutalities of imprisonment. I have

black eyes and bloody lips,

bandages to disprove the very existence
of you. You could not have done it. He

was not that kind of a man, and I
am not one anymore. I am a beast

he would not recognize. A beast

of burden, his, which I am made to
carry through the night, ink-stained -

I cannot see my feet, perhaps they too

are lost, and I will never make it home.
How many rounds of

how could you do this to me?

can I traverse, in blindfolded travels of
pain, of pain, before I lose my mind?

Not many more. I have to learn to
disdain hope, dispense with its sickness
of seductions: there is no you.

No-one will pick-up that black phone,
letters will be returned unread. No-one
lives at the address which

I used to call: you.
I used to call: my love.

I used to call, and must now learn not to.

6. The textures light assumes when no-one is watching.

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Now nearing my planned elimination
by means of a state which I do not
recognise, nor it my life, I remember.

I remember: his bed in illuminations,
the bending of his neck,

the textures light assumes when no-one is watching.

And think. If I were to come out one year from now,
two years from now, or ten, how would the face
of my lover reflect the passing of that time?

May I still call him that?

My lover? How did it happen? Of things
impossible to recollect, one has to make:

an invention – illuminate the text, patch up
a redaction with gold, tin, pain,
whatever else will melt.

In bed, his neck bends in the most
delicate ways: ways of petals, ways of horsetails,
ways of counting how many clouds it takes
to make clouds mine. And then:

knock, knock, the uniforms,
the boots in arms, the belts all in order, the most
frightening sight:

the sight of my lover
who already knows why.

7. Consider yourself forgiven.

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If you are alive and singing, and free
to walk wherever your pretty

boots may take you: the barber or
the dancing hall,

consider yourself forgiven.

If your mother still lines up bread
and meat on the morning table, and does
your laundry still, despite your shirt

never having been stained in blood,

consider yourself forgiven.

If you have time and leisure still, to look
up from your work laid out

on the table and reminisce: how

beautiful my hands, how soft the poke
of my ribcage, how low my voice,

consider yourself forgiven.

If you have half a time to spare, do not
think of me as an enemy, or remember
the terror distorting my face, simply,

consider yourself forgiven.

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