Heather Bartlett received her MFA in poetry from Hunter College. Her work can be found in, among other places,
Conte, The Evening Street Review, Real Poetik, Melusine, The Nervous Breakdown, Third Wednesday, and Phoebe. She is assistant editor at Split Oak Press and teaches writing at SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College. She writes, grades papers, and longs for New York City from her small apartment in Ithaca, New York.
Go Like This
“And I want it still for me here now as I lie in the blue-black of this aloneness thirsting for love more than I ever thought I could.”
Let the word roll over
in your mouth: danger.
It feels like
memorizing lines of numbers
or verse, like falling into white heat, like
biting your lip. She wants you
to ask a question, no. She wants
an answer. Like this:
the clouds tonight are mercury-quilted
and wrapping us in warm rain.
She tells you she likes the idea of something
to believe in. She has a way
of reaching around you
so all night you will be searching
for more of that scent. Leave your own
buried in her shoulder.
Write a letter
that’s only for you. Start
like this: I no longer believe
in black and white.
Carry it with you
in the blue-black dark. But here
is the dangerous part:
the leaves have covered the sidewalk
and now this way looks the same as the sky.
You want to go find her again –
Wait. Go like this: find new ways
to say you want this pain.
Like this: falling is not the only way
to break open.
What was it that kept us
before all this giving up:
the color of the room
when the sky is about to turn to storm
or early morning
& my fingers cannot trace your form
in the dark
when the kettle no longer whistles
& the boiling water
splinters the thin glass
when I open the door
& the light from the porch is enough
to show the deliberate & empty space
our bodies have given up
while the morning breaks & you
are not yet awake to your own darkness.