Friday, November 5, 2021

Elizabeth Clark Wessel : Lady with Lapdog



You take your pain
and write about it
you can't say it's like

anyone else’s pain
but you extrapolate

into abstraction

someone will recognize it
and if they do

both of your pain will be less
this makes no sense

in your favorite story
the aging roué meets

a young and lovely woman
the simplicity of her feelings

opens him
replaces what is inside

he comes to believe
what’s secret

is our real life
everything else

our wife our children
is just the passing of hours

and happens at a great distance
from the true self

this moves you
you too feel unseen

you too have secrets
don’t know how to say them

your wife your children
the men at your club

they receive you in passing
inside your real life unspools

you await the arrival of the young lady
who will lay open your jaded heart

like an oyster on a bed of ice
you are always on your way

to the opera house
where at last you will reveal

this love
but when you speak

no one even recognizes it
as words




Elizabeth Clark Wessel is the author of four chapbooks of poetry, the translator of numerous Swedish novels, and a founding editor at Argos Books. Originally from rural Nebraska, these days she calls Stockholm, Sweden home.


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