Ars Mortem (For Dad)
Someone is weeping.
—Ann Lauterbach, from Hum
This poem says the word beautiful
6 times. All poems are metaphors
refined. Even sorrow can be beautiful.
Sorrow is left undefined.
My sorrow, like ashes, falls,
falls around your body.
Your body in the back room—
white sheet covered, reclined.
Your face composed as if feeling
music in the back room.
The last I’ll see you.
A person is a body dead or alive.
A person is a memory, mine.
Can’t the word beautiful be undefined?
The word can be beautiful, undefined.
A person is a memory, mine.
We’re both bodies, dead and alive.
The last I’ll see of you.
Music. In the back room
your face composed as if feeling
your body in the back room.
Fall around your body,
my sorrow. Like ashes fall.
Sorrow is undefined.
Refined, even sorrow can be beautiful
6 times. All poems are metaphors.
This poem left the word beautiful (undefined).
How I’ve Survived this Long, Part 5
I take a quick detour on the way home. Once
inside, I find my favorite rack: the goddess dresses—
not the preppy short ones or the work sheaths,
but the long, flowing ones with wild patterns—
tangled flowers and silver thread. These dresses
are made, not of polyester, like the dresses at home,
but 100% silk. I play the game and choose
which one I’d buy—Etro-hot pink clematis
set against a black background. I hold it
apart from the others and imagine the beach party:
I’d walk in like Aphrodite, the plunging V-neck
highlighting my still-bouncy breasts, and skimming
gently over the rest of my body. In this dress
I do not have lumps, I have curves. In this dress,
I am not 5 foot 3, but tall—and I glide when I walk.
When I arrive at the party, I’ll feign ignorance
that I’m overdressed. I’ve practiced pretending
I don’t notice eyes on me. The women
will be admiring, and a little jealous—
but not so much they won’t want to be friends.
The men will look at me just long enough
that their wives won’t comment on it afterwards.
Back at the store, I’m hurrying now. The t-shirts
are a splurge at $30, but I justify buying them—
pile them into my cart, knowing I can always return
them—three plain black ones and a grey one that says
Le soleil, La Lune, Les Etoiles.
My child, on the cusp
Less and less he speaks to me every day.
He’s a landscape passing from view.
Out the train window, I watch him slipping away.
Speeding by, the sun-drenched field subtly sways,
lulls me to look away, just for a few—
makes me forget—he speaks to me less every day.
When he arrives home after school, to my dismay,
I see his position has shifted, from me, slightly askew.
He’s slipping, each minute, further away.
I try to keep pace with who he’s become since yesterday.
He’s unaware of me passing through—
less and less he speaks every day.
He’s my whole landscape—the jutting jaw, the sun’s ray—
shadowed brow, and those eyes! Deep lakes of sheer blue.
Even his gaze into mine is slipping away.
How can I trust this earth, taking my child away?
I mourn the enormity of him, our minutes too few.
I’m just a passenger he speaks to less every day.
Out the train window, I watch him slip away.
Kasha Martin Gauthier lives outside of Boston with her family. A member of the Workshop for Publishing Poets, her work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Breakwater Review, Pangyrus, The MacGuffin, The Healing Muse, Slipstream, Soundings East, and elsewhere. Kasha’s poetry is informed by her family dynamics, upbringing in New Hampshire, and careers in business and cybersecurity.
on Greg McBride