E. Hughes photo: Marie Thomas
We Have Made a Bed of This Landscape—
Ekphrasis of Long For, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas by Deanna Sirlin
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?
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.