for Mack Sikora
Who’s killing Lillian Gish?
This is not to say I’d miss her. I don’t need to.
We have her substantial shadow, her American yawp,
her eyes that are two ripe flowers
effusing tears that are too much like tears.
If you die in the movies, you die in real life, and she has died many times,
following the bootsteps of wide-eyed Griffith who rolls
her paraflesh in his mouth, puts it on ice, saves it.
In a nightmare, I open a valve and drain the river.
Her bodies lie like bank brush: too wet to be handled, too light to be borne.
Loving someone you shouldn’t is like loving someone you should—making of anything
a precedent or an abject thing to forget,
like color when the wolf butchers.
I am composing a condition for love. Between me and the rest, pick the rest.
Noa Saunders is a poet and scholar living in Boston, where she teaches classes on poetry, film, and writing. Recent poems can be found in Ninth Letter, Ghost City Review, Bitchin’ Kitsch, The Shore, Leavings, and others.