A Bisecting

past for alexandra smyth poem
Past, by Joyce Polance

It is difficult to say
what it is that troubles
me most these days.
I have lost an old
friend. Shame runs
charcoal-dark from
my throat to my navel.
A bisecting: two halves
no longer making whole.

A hole at the center –
the thing which I fear
to give name. I am all
cliché in this moment,
woman without words,
a vessel holding empty
space. Hands upon my
body, a language I can
understand. It speaks

to me, the flesh. What
does it mean to be a
woman other than to
carry someone else’s
pain? I am little but a
figure in the doorway:
please, look upon me.
Give me a shape that
I can call my frame.

Author: Alexandra Smyth

Alexandra Smyth lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the City College of New York MFA Creative Writing Program. She was a finalist for the 2015 Gabriela Mistral Poetry Prize, as well as a recipient of the 2014 Poets and Writers Amy Award, and the 2013 recipient of the Jerome Lowell Dejur Prize in Poetry. Her work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Cleaver Magazine, Found Poetry Review, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others.