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We Have Made a Bed of This Landscape—

Ekphrasis of Long For, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas by Deanna Sirlin



E. Hughes

The colors of our bodies—red, Klein blue sinking

into black. This is every bed peopled by the weight

of love, sagging in the middle, submitting to the will

of time. It doesn’t matter if we were here or not—

we attain no speech in this desire. Instead, we burst

like black at sunrise. Light’s golden will—a stroke of

god—is not the prosody of night, is not what we have

come to this bed to achieve.


                           Look at me—


through this imperfect line of passion. I am gone

in the weight of your body. I am gone in the mouth

of your violet touch. This sequence is all I can manage

of love—the failure of my body to reach you in this

horizon. My desire the vertical ghost interrupting this

pattern of color.


                           In this bed—


we are a sermon forgone of speech. We are this

landscape forgone of distinction. What are we

if the mountains disappear? If the trees walk

happily into unmeaning? If we call every sound

we make in this bed ocean?

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Deanna Sirlin, Long For, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 84 x 60 inches

E. Hughes, a Cave Canem fellow, received their MFA+MA from the Litowitz Creative Writing Program at Northwestern University. Their poems have been published or are forthcoming in Guernica Magazine, Poet Lore, The Offing, Wildness Magazine, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Protean Magazine—among others. Currently, they are a PhD student in Philosophy at Emory University.

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