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Milla van der Have

self-portrait as severed heart

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i dreamt of snow

perhaps the world was only white so we could walk with bare feet and all
in search of pilgrimage · in search of a doe with the moon on her chest · in search
of the daughter no one remembers

you think anyone escapes their childhood · that dark passage · small tea and cakes
spelling a counterfeit zodiac of hound and hurried steps into yet another fall from grace

i dreamt i was seeing white

for the first time · i was standing in the middle of a wet day wearing my rain like a cape and the
world was white · whiter than it should be on a horned afternoon · what are you looking for : a
treasure she said · what are you looking for : a threshold i said · to give into the dream she said
with weighed hand and the antlers on your head are only what stars were to late great men

and they are sure to guide you

i dreamt the world was blank and unforgiven like a girl
and i was a girl and i had spoken for the last time before i was caught in the net of me
and i ran like a deer runs before it runs · as it springs · this

meticulous betrayal of air in lungs

confinement, day 23

ghost town dispatch

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-i haven't forgotten about feet or sky or that strange

cold when someone passes too close

-i still haven't washed my sheets of the smell

of you · my town · my glory · my intermediate

-the sparrows carrying the dead carry nothing

at all : as long as there are holes in heaven

-as long as souls know how to return

to this : the side-stretch of memory

-there was a body once and pigeons and sun-

light scuttling through blinds and cracks

-in the slab that were games instead of omens

and yelling and legs and yes, o so many

-and there were days worn right down to the bone

and summer dresses that clung to flesh and wind

-and knees with scabs and sour breath and the wild

wild grass that would swallow each unholy thing

-from your hands and there were ghosts, sure,

simmering, like Greeks after an ancient battle

-but they spoke my names so friendly like honey

like halva : the kind that breaks on your skin


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we were 18 or barely / that summer
so hot, it sweltered / with bogeymen & childhood
circumspection / no take-backs / no aggravation
without bodily —

it's not so far but it's the world / a simple step beyond the perimeter / where your
eyes have taken on / new meaning / where everything has become shiny & glass
now / reverberant with truth

you splinter / like ice / along the riverbank / pristine / in all the times you wish for /
in all the places you have known yourself stuck in / the kvetched bed / the clean heart / the
bitter nest / the drink, the draught, the final say

her tousled / hair her laugh / her hands willing new forms to your thoughts / & you don't
think the bus will ever stop / or that it should / you don't think 40 years is enough
to roam / a body or the in-between / you've become / a pigeon : a pilgrim : taking
the long way round / all roads a stray / breaking and unbreaking / homes / as you go

18 or barely / thighs stuck to the grass / & we sang /
we sang / old tunes / that marked us /
men and more than men : girls

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