from In Garments Worn By Lindens
In Garments Worn By Lindens is an homage text for the poet Rosmarie Waldrop. All titles are taken from her book Lawn of Excluded Middle.
wishcraft slanting the naked figure
I read your messages lightly tinted with sappan wood, and
now am no longer alone. A few simple words graze my lips,
light votives. You cup with your hand and turn your back on
the larger light, descending to protect a tiny flame. We close
our eyes to conceive of discretion. A bright center of
attention may be interpreted as warmth, or may singe. I can't
pretend I am alone when nearby me a child no longer a child
no longer requires my presence.
ghosts of grammar
In order to be revealed something first must be hidden.
Layers were invisible, then binding, and finally trailed off into
simple loops and pliable flourishes. I listened to her words as
she spoke, very close to the edges of soluble perception.
Fingers flew along roads lined with fabric, along certain sad-
drenched songs. Her voice resounded in double register,
prepared to receive red dye. First I was a grown woman, then
a creature steeped in milk, a "she" molded or sculpted. Where
doubt had once lain was now a visible passage to breathing
volumes, cloth maidens. I met her earlier register, in myself, a
very pale page.
Can I walk in your sleep
Meeting earlier selves makes me shiver. What if your books
hadn't been placed in my passage? What if I didn't recognize
your words, which guided me toward a latent pause I only
now begin to understand? In the bodily lexicon, weft comes
before arrival. Waits against bloom. Which thread did she
ring, remote, as if each decade were a map, a middle way,
along the journey. The dark wood repeats itself. Between
expression and consent. And brooks written in drowned
sentences. Which origin of lace does she hear as she works at
the broom? In garments worn by lindens.
or bone with sentence structure
So I'm going, so I'm gone. You are the flower I address,
umbra slanting the naked trigger. I loved you more than my
name. So the shadow. So you danced. So I leapt into the
flexed decade, and then the vexed. This being all, that ahead,
substance of once-had-been. I loved you more than
symptoms, synonyms or categories of midnight. A shadow
fell on to the tree but the shadow was still surrounded by
like the children I could have borne
You walked into me often. I looked at the photo of a nearly
grown woman realizing my worth as a gleam in her needle
about a distant future I had become. I had no relation to the
photo and barely knew the woman, but the finery encircling
her thoughts was spun. Strands of pearlized legs. Ghosts of
clamor. Seeds you could touch between two fingers,
millennial hands. Sewn arms.
Laynie Browne's most recent books are P R A C T I C E and Scorpyn Odes. Forthcoming books include a collaboration with Bernadette Mayer titled The Complete works of Apis Mellifera. She is a recent Pew fellow and teaches at U Penn and Swarthmore College.