2012: Jeanne Wagner – Losing Her

Poem from the 2012 issue.

Losing Her
By Jeanne Wagner

He feels there should be two of him now, like
Hermaphrodite, the statue they saw in the Louvre,

reclining on its side: an alabaster slope of shoulder
and hip, sweet unsuckled breasts, the way

the body shelled in on itself and made him want
to walk around and see the other side where

the soft apostrophe of its sex lay nestled against
a thigh like a dream of brake ferns coiling at the tip.

Lately he finds himself looking for seams, soft clefts
where the embryo’s mirror-sides have sealed.

He scans the unfused lips of orphans in magazines,
the silent palaver of their tongues, their unhealed

mouths laid open like a flower. Sometimes sound
is just air forced through gouges of matter.

He listens to the harmonics of hardness and hollow
and thinks of the one-armed pianist, Paul Wittgenstein,

who learned to play both parts on the piano, an empty
sleeve tucked inside his pocket.

He wants to be that sleeve and to be the good left arm,
or could he be the geese he’s read about

who, when they grieve, sing both halves of their
old duet after their mate has died?

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