That night, your final night
alive, I turned from your locked red door
still holding your letter,
a thunderbolt that could not earth itself.
Shock remade my brains, and the prevalent devils
of ill-love added to the huddle of riddles
that failed to divulge their unhappy import—
was that your plan?
Dellarobbia, my numbed love, with your two mad needles
inside my skin, embroidering stitches among my nerves
with their obsessed in and out: since my escape
you had become such a hunted thing—
the smouldering shards of your strange smile
dangling beyond actuality,
the lovely eyes behind their raving
mask burning at the windows of their cell.
Abandoning you was my failed effort
to annihilate the Minotaur of your maze;
few ever met that demented animal.
But the artistry of this plot was perverted
when—choking on infinite German hatred—
you gassed your ferocious kupo, and yourself…
What happened that night, inside your hours,
is unknown as birth; the membrane
of each slow second emblazoned
on a brain wanting only to feel nothing.
Soon to be dead I imagine you just turning
out of Fitzroy road with your long black coat
and your hair coiled up, rushing towards
a phone booth that can never be reached.
How often did you try to ring that night,
sleepless wife? Before midnight?
After? Again? And, near dawn, again?
Your last attempt already deeply past
when the voice like a measured injection delivered
its cool words into my ear:
© Michele Seminara
I’m without shadows, black snake.
Pure, like a March gift,
And lucent as blueness.
My million spirits convince me of god.
Each eye, taking pleasure
In the finger-length arm and leg,
Cheeks apprehending hope,
From cloud to stone
Floating. Limpid as rising
Angels. They turned on winter—
My, you bent like a twig
Among perfectly-chiseled bird feet—drops
Of expressionless dew slept on.
I pour myself
Skyward again. You inch among black rocks.
I know what to make of my soul-shift :
It’s a mica-bud, of course :
And you dull, without fluid, scaled.
© Stuart Barnes
* A found poem sourced from Ted Hughes’s ‘Last Letter’
**A found poem sourced from Sylvia Plath’s ‘Love Letter’
Both poems first published in Seizure, 2014