from Clarice: The Visitor

Idra Novey

Visitor, Mid-August

O looks totaled,
older but more wholly
himself as we kiss in the tradition
of his country, where he kissed
a man recently and told
his wife, and things ended,
this man who bends now
to kiss my infant son
then we have nothing
to say—so good and startled
we are after altering
the particles of our lives,
until finally he asks
about my sadness
in his country, how it lasted
on and on and I tell him
it was the brown-yellow of
dead grass on a hill
until the hill was gone.

On Distance as Former Roommate

I serve J a plate she doesn't take,
offer her a softer chair. We were close
as cognates once, nearly holy
to one another—which comes down now
to coming down
to what?
                    To having been cognates once.
Swappable as the agua my son says
for the sky in his tiny find-the-world books.
And we find it—the same blue.