PERSISTENCE OF THE BODY'S LOSS

Alison Armstrong-Webber

Brown and grey
And that luminous, horrible
Gold of the winter straw.
—Charlotte Boulay, Talking To The Dead

Dun, in the whitest blaze of it; Persistence brings a cold torch. Touches it, to winter straw. 
The mateless, mourning glove is thought to plead: for bitter hemlock to sip at, through a winter straw.

A widowed sweep of saplings blacken. One by one they bow, unfastened, hems to hills.
The ice-storm rails down tinder, of glass. The body's drift? Half a ghost, through winter straw.

Those two red-tailed hawks have gone. One flew east. And one, onto summer.
A cardinal stands in the body’s soft snow. Leaves footprints—gold, in winter straw.

The world is not my home, I'm just passing through.* An old suitcase: impenetrable,
clamps, about the mouth. Grimaces, at song. At the hinges stays bent, like the winter straw.

Consistent as a curve, samaras whirl—Then sculpt the granite stairways; in sweet chartreuse,
the little in the body shakes its filaments, but not ‘to be', to set alight the winter straw.

* Tom Waits

ALISON ARMSTRONG-WEBBER is a writer and a visual artist, who lives at the edge of Forest Hill Village, in Ontario, Canada. Her chapbook, A Beautiful Place, That You Will Leave is forthcoming, from Dancing Girl Press. She fell in love with the Ghazal when she realized it might prove to be the perfect vessel to contain her run-on lines; in her hands the ghazal is somewhere between an alchemical flask -with little shell ears- and a cracked and languorous, unwaxed amphora.