archives fall 2008



Recovering (2)

I misstate the word frangible,
able to be broken,
as sea-sponge, contents under
pressure, gel spilling
from a vitamin capsule,
the goodness leaking out—a waste,
but also the inverse, the capacity
to be penetrated by what
is other, the capacity
to shift, mutate. The sea sponge,
which swallows mouth after
mouthful of salt, even as stung
thirsts for more, the sponge wrung
dry, the brittle after, on sand
the honeycomb husk, almost weightless
in the hand, the wind of
this, which forms in the throat,
the need to keep speaking
even when not heard, the fracture
of such music, a note held
without pause, the old opera singer
trick of bending molecules,
nothing but a simple aria and
the glass breaks.



Perdurable\pur-DUR-uh-bul; pur-DYUR-\,adjective:
Very durable; lasting; continuing long.  From the Fr. Perdre: To lose.

I must love it for containing to
so neatly, so completely, as if what
could be held was like the lily-pad
floating the surface—that lake of loss,
shimmer so limpid as it blindly reflects
frost-blue sky, shift of cloud.
Continuing long, which
means not forever, which means
your shoulder against my teeth—
ivory-gleam, crenellated country,
so dense and precariously inhabited.
A kind of cheat that the word speaks so
eloquently the loss it appears to forestall.
You are perdurable to me, cleft of
lip, fat tongue, desire which falls
and glosses like rain this dry land-
scape in which I learn daily what long
means, the flavor of it, the dust
of how and in what measure
you are lost.  


Sheila Black received her BA in French Literature from Barnard College in 1983.  She also received an MA in English Literature and a MFA in Poetry in 1998 from the University of Montana.  Her poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including diode, Copper Nickel, LitPot Review, DMQ Review, Willow Springs, Poet Lore, Ellipsis, Blackbird, the Pedestal, and Puerto Del Sol. In 2000 she was the U.S. co-winner of the Frost-Pellicer Frontera Prize, given to one U.S. and one Mexican poet living along the U.S. Mexico Border.  Her first book, House of Bone, was published by CustomWords Press in March 2007.   A chapbook, How to Be a Maquiladora, appeared from Main Street Rag Publishing, Inc., in January 2007.  A second book, Love/Iraq, is forthcoming from CustomWords Press in 2009.  She is currently the Visiting Poet at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.