Still

By Alison Jarvis

Featured Art: The Artist’s Sitting Room in Ritterstrasse by Adolph Menzel, 1851

Somewhere up in the Bronx,
in rented space I’ve never seen, seven
rooms of the old life, waiting
in storage. Shrouded wing chairs,
Persian rugs, your mother’s
engraved silver, nesting and spooning
in a mahogany box. Racks
of your oils. The body of the grand piano
had to be separated from its legs
so everything could fit—

     I miss our music.

Sunday, on the little radio
I heard Lotte Lenya sing
that song about searching, her urgency
tilted the room, I was that
off-balance

and dying to hear it again,
even in my own voice. The ether
offers up dozens of versions, none
the one I wanted. One night,
years into your illness—I was whirling—
singing “Pirate Jenny”
when you calmed me—Wait
sweetheart, you said, Lenya
is perfectly still
when she sings that
in the movie
.

It’s true. This morning, the light
a slit in the blind, I finally found it
on YouTube. Her body
never moves, only her eyes
and even they stop
near the end. Rapt,
I watched it for hours—

Typed your ghost email,
pressed send.


Alison Jarvis received the Gerald Cable Award for her book Where is North. She is a recipient of the Lyric Poetry Prize from the Poetry Society of America, the Mudfish Poetry Prize, the Guy Owen Prize from Southern Poetry Review, a Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony and a Pushcart nomination. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Best Indie Lit New England. She is a psychotherapist in private practice and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Originally appeared in NOR 20.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s