Rachel Voss

Borne in profusion over a long season—
now, I wilt.  Lover, it’s been a long season.

I thought I could tolerate neglect—not yours.
I sought solitude for all the wrong reasons.

Your splendor puts me in the shade, where I like
to be, hidden from the flowering throng, pleased, wan.

They call me “hardy”—code for cast-iron bitch.
Survival without beauty: strong treason.

Common, but not domestic.  I hardly leave
the house when you’re away, don’t belong: me’s foregone.

Do I only occupy space, fact contained
by form, confined to dusty parlor?  Song, wheeze on.

If you let me furnish your interiors,
I’ll stand for something more, prolong, appease, spawn.

I, shield against the world, tough as barroom brawl,
still tall, adorned in your love this long season. 


RACHEL VOSS is a high school English teacher living in Astoria, Queens. She graduated with a degree in creative writing and literature from SUNY Purchase College. Her work has previously appeared in Hanging Loose Magazine, Blast Furnace, The New Verse News, Unsplendid, Newtown Literary, and the Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology, among others.