Two poems by grace (ge) gilbert

#5 Hark

Solitude is elemental.
I am home most of the day.
In the afternoons I arrange images of my father and try to create a new one.
The molecules recapitulate & perhaps will lend themselves to love.
If not love, then an answer.
In the evenings I go gathering for berries.
I go to the doctor and ask for love, but they give me Metformin.
I go to my body and ask for love, and it gives me weakness.
The sun is gone and I sit down in the heavy armchair of a new day.
I drink two cups of tea and try to regrow my hair.
I try to recover a new memory of my father, but I only get the rolodex of old ones.
The bathtub, the leather, the green carpet in my room.
I had a dream as a child that we were caught in a tornado.
Outside his favorite gas station, losing grip on the decorative boulders in the lot.
When I awoke, I was clutching tufts of carpet.
Sometimes I wonder if I had sent myself back for those textures.
The feeling of my fingers in water, the seats of my father’s car.
Why else would I have been launched so hard into memory?
There was a force there.
And when I wake up I still am breathless until I know where I am.

#16 Hark

At the Italian restaurant my father orders a Chianti.
I order a Chianti and an appetizer and an entrée and a dessert.
We haven’t spoken.
I wear a $12 fur coat I found in the Poconos, heavy enough to break every hanger I put it on.
I try not to talk about illness.
He apologizes for not having been around.
It’s in a way where I must become his father.
After I console him we walk through SoHo.
Me in my fur coat, him in his leather jacket.
I wonder what people assume of us, two suited-up strangers.
I haven’t eaten this well in months, so I take advantage of his guilt.
He says he would like to try harder, that on the train down he thought about how little time might be left.
I imagine how lovely that scene must’ve been, sitting and thinking down the long tracks in the Fall.
When we depart, we stand on opposite sides of the station pretending not to see each other.
Our trains barrel in two directions.
The clam sauce pools in the takeout bag.
And I feel like a silly child again, alone, trying on my father’s coats and shoes.

grace (ge) gilbert is a genderless poet, essayist, and collage worker based in Pittsburgh. they received their MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2022. they are the author of three chapbooks: the closeted diaries: essays (Porkbelly Press 2022), NOTIFICATIONS IN THE DARK (Antenna Books 2023), and today is an unholy suite (Barrelhouse 2023). they were the MCLA Under 27 Writer-in-Residence Fellow at Mass MoCA. their work can be found in 2023’s Best of the Net Anthology, the Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Passages North, the Offing, the Adroit Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Diode, Foglifter, TYPO, ANMLY, and elsewhere. they currently teach hybrid collage and poetics courses at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and they are a 2023 Visiting Teaching Artist at the Poetry Foundation. they are passionate about making the hybrid arts accessible to all.

Appears In

Issue 20

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