Ophelia Afloat


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Judith Skillman is the recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets and Artist Trust. Her recent collection is The Truth About Our American Births, Shanti Arts Press. Poems have appeared in  [+]

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Her face beneath the glass coffee table.
A marble ornament,
a plated face.
Weigh heavy a little longer,
allow me to look
for reasons
in the dialogue
between you and that fellow.
Surely you could have had a long life,
borne twelve children to a man who had no neuroses.
I see myself in you
when sleep doesn’t come
and dawn brings its blue dysphoria.
Then bone cries out for bone,
muscle for muscle.
That’s the secret of revenge—
if not gotten to
in a timely fashion
the suicide works itself
into soft tissue,
and youth cries out for the brass kettle,
the useless stove
gone cold in winter,
the clock stopped at midnight or noon,
fine china half hidden in cupboards.
Tell me soft-lipped, silent tongue,
did you eat your last meal on Haviland?
Was Mother’s porcelain thin enough
when held up to light, did
your fingers shine through
like minnows?

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