Amy Strauss Friedman

Always Visible, Almost Forgotten

(Microscopium Constellation—Microscope)

Pitched and small, petri-dished and
begging for the glitter of discovery,

you endured as gray-pink speckles
against a sea of burnished dye
sufficiently rusted to waste your heart.

I diagnose you a cancer, the scientific
equivalent of pinned wrists in a burning barn.

You survive briefly as metaphor for the aftermath
of other women’s pain, but are spared
the embarrassment of the racket of Forgiveness.

There’s little time until the holidays,
little hope you’ll see the new moon.
The wretched world will rush to give up on you.

My woman’s ear will measure your fading pulse
as catalogue of every wisp of the underworld.
Flutter will turn to flat line. A city undone.

I’ll appropriate your ashes for charcoal,
steady my brush, and scribble your essence
beneath my eyelids. Then step out

into the fractured world
more alive than all our flowers
budding at the threshold of spring.

Recognition

(Lacerta Constellation—Lizard)

evolution judges us by the number of skull
holes behind our eyes, quadrupedal
and fork-tongued in this miasma;
we retreat as a turtle’s head,
make small meals of insects

camouflaged in dermal scales,
overlapping plates of keratin
molting to dispose of our parasites.
let us consume shed skin, devour
our pasts to reveal a tomorrow

we’ve too often been told is impossible.
fear of living small ablates us;
existence only works through acknowledgement.
protection and self-interest halt all momentum,
the reason for the regeneration of our skin.

Left Behind

(Vela Constellation—Sails of Argo Navis)

A single mast documents the absence
of the other two, a silent nostalgia
swallowed in the thick-fingered notes

of amends. For there’s no particular rooting interest
in solidarity. In loneliness so low and lovely
that flowers hide their faces in the dim distance.

So, behold my grave of nail heads. Barrel-empty,
thrumming regardless. Ambition drives neglect.
Strips the spine-smooth heart to rupture.

Don’t Dare Say Unglued; Say Savvy

(Ursa Major Constellation—Big Bear)

Hierarchy demands punishment of the lesser;
I have no choice but to mete it out
just as it’s done to me.

Once, a star threatened explosion
just to coat me in darkness. A suicide
intended as homicide.

A lover wrapped in the falling
away. A fascicle of storms and thorns
marking the sky like nail holes in wood.

Amy Strauss Friedman is the author of the poetry collection The Eggshell Skull Rule (Kelsay Books, 2018), and the chapbook Gathered Bones are Known to Wander (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2016). Amy’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and her work has appeared in Pleiades, Rust + Moth, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her work can be found at amystraussfriedman.com.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.