By Georgia Kreiger:
For a time he lived between my legs
where our urgent collisions seemed more
than the common fuck, more like he wanted
to break through the boundaries of skin
and mind and dissolve himself in the depth
of a woman who, he insisted,
did not remind him of his mother. A woman
more pliant and yielding than the clumsy
young girls who offered themselves cocooned
in their own interests, a woman who knew
that his sickness drove him to seek
shelter on the inside of someone
who provided herself like an abandoned cabin,
whose heat was seasoned by distant fires,
hard nights, needs beaten to a sheen.
And when his breath caught
and he breached, almost, the sovereignty
between him and me, filling the space with sound,
my emptiness echoed his cry: the purr of wind
through loose windows, thrash of deer through brush,
the call of faraway trains at night.
What struck me most was how gently
his left hand cupped the elbow to steady
the arm and turn out the white expanse
near the wrist where the veins are visible.
And how slowly, tenderly, he positioned
it, held as one would when cutting a steak
for which one felt only the mildest hunger,
his thin wrist bent slightly over his work.
The almost translucent flesh dimpled
under the pressure and formed two plump
ridges on either side. I told him once
that I would be willing even
to bleed for him.
And when the flesh split, and the line
he drew down my arm turned scarlet
and welled up and ran thickly toward
my hand, I felt the bloodless despair
that cutters describe
rush out of me
and the room swirl almost
with the rhythm of his breath.
And weightless I rose
toward a beckoning twilight
as we sat leaning over
the slow flow that startled us awake.
(“He Comes” and “Pocket Knife” were originally published in The 2River View. These poems are reprinted here today with permission from the poet.)
Georgia Kreiger lives in Maryland and teaches creative writing. Her poems have appeared in The 2River View, poemmemoirstory, Literal Latté, Poet Lore, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Outerbridge, Backbone Mountain Review and others.
Editor’s Note: In truth I am at a loss for what to say about these striking poems. Thoughts fly through my head like cars on a freeway, crossing one another at record speeds. Of course I would love these poems. How brilliant, how honest, how raw. How painful, and how beautiful the pain. Kreiger wastes no time in cutting deep, in sticking her arms in up to her elbows as if midwifing or keeping a heart beating with her bare hands. Sex, violence, mental illness- there is no subject taboo, no aspect of the human/female/relationship experience that is off limits. I am inspired and humbled by Kreiger’s grasp on the art of the poem.