Arrangement in Gray and Black

By: Laurie Rosenblatt

Featured art: Composition with Black and Gray by Claude Ronald Bentley

In the straight-backed chair
for hours for hours after
a drug-stilled night for hours
after dream-hungry sleep she sits
in the straight-backed chair
unmoving for night
after night after leaning spent
against the steel surface
of sleep after staying by habit
on the right side of the bed
as if as if—

although some time does go missing

as if an owl passed like a ghost
its wing-beats deepening the silence
before the milkweed
from that half-dreaming
streams away.

And because the skin knows
after the brain does
and the reptile brain knows
after the self
the arm believes and reaches palm held out flat
seeking that other skin
and animal comfort.

Because the palm is capable
because a limb if lost may still feel
and because it feels may find grass-itch,
wind-brush, the love-mad path of fingers,
and pain. Because this is so

the palm believes
and finds the ghost it seeks
but the streaming milkweed
is carried away by the sun
that leaps onto the bed
and sinks its claws in.

Then dream-hungry she sits
on the straight-backed chair a
figure in gray and black.

Laurie Rosenblatt is the author of a poetry collection, In Case (Pecan Grove Press, 2013), and two chapbooks, Blue (University of Toledo Press, 2012) and A Trapdoor, A Rupture, Something with Kinks (Finishing Line Press, 2017). In 2012, Gallery NAGA hosted Cloud 10, her collaboration with the painter Richard Raiselis. Individual poems appear in Salamander, The Common, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

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