Issue 2,  Poetry

Shrine by Sarah Etlinger

Dressed in only the shroud
of my nakedness,
you reach for me
as we lie in the bow of night,
and you tell me
of summer
as a teenager
when you’d count the hours
with cigarette butts you didn’t even 
have to sneak because no one
was ever home to see

and when you were brave enough
to slink out like a secret
into the leaching dark
once you saw a homeless woman
hold out her baby to you,
dangling by its feet,
and she asked you to take it away—
the nightmare haunting you 
like the tide

you tell me how every time
it rains you think of Paris
the dream of us making love
atop the Eiffel Tower in the fog,
of how I fold into you
invisible as water vapor;

how days stretch out before us
when we’re not looking
and how time is only a myth:
we cannot possess anything
we cannot hold

summer, you say—that eternal shrine
hung with youth’s tapestries,
I salute the sun, you say,
salute the golden limbs
and light;

and everywhere, azaleas.


Sarah Etlinger‘s chapbook, Never One for Promises, was released from Kelsay Books in December 2018. Currently, she is an English professor who resides in Milwaukee, WI, with her family. Interests outside of poetry include cooking, traveling, and learning to play the piano.

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