Privet, I said, and meant it—why not good wishes, to hope them
fulsome, complete. If then we’d all, to use their language, win.
The hunters enter the woods. No tempered justice, no twice
bless’d. I wince, double back. Possibly there are endless ways
that it could have happened. As in: ways that it did not end.
Or this is how it ends: in a dark room I lie
among invisible selves, shade against
visible death—by making visible—
this block, that rope, this room
upends the natural order, that is:
a woman framed just-so, as if
to portrait oneself into a kind
of parable. A parable: in a shadow-
box the scene shows ladies-in-wait,
breaths held for savior, to savor
hope for redemptive future by unseen
hands. This is my alt-ending, head
bent, throat bare, still un-singing.
New ways—through highway mist
lights flash. Blue and, you know
the story. Red. Think of the
young men, not you, then think
again. Redouble the winding path
to imagine other hands, a sinister
grip. New ways—in a field, say,
call out taraxacum, look up to hush
asteraceae. Felled to bewilder in
wild, your clutch notwithstanding,
some cached and latent dent-de-lion.
And on arrival to this ur-cell
you scale back, disentangle into
branch. Language, too—end of—
some realized form once sat here,
where hints of a gone world made
music of a late-night whisper to a
lover such as it’s time to go in—
Be here: now the silent living
room, now the flush & sway
of the woman above—be
here: and the line advances
into crumbling silt—this is
how the near-year, this song
Cassandra’s, rends. Overhead:
still blue. Elsewhere and gaining,
yellow to orange to red. Arid,
it goes without saying, as polar
scenes drench. Be here the roar
and crash of limbs into limbs,
be here the sea cascading into
what is-ness coming to contact
what was or already been, un-
catalogued, waiting for storage—
The aperture binds only
light, crowns muscle in deco
garlands & gladiatrix stain,
roots the axial skeleton.
Sing the body’s little pulses:
PR, QT, QT—no small jump
within the intermodal, a kind
of prayer, or: she knows better
that the living chamber holds
both burst & ebb, closes her eyes
in warmth, welcomes a contrast
to framing & counts the atrium…
That this happened.
That it did not end.
Other selves inhabiting the hidden,
as in: a sitting man in a shadowed room
suspires, clouds the innards. There must
be light, sounds beyond some window.
In the larger sphere, hunters enter.
To sense concentric living as a strategy
for staving the lonely, sole focus
of this face, that gesture, those crosshairs.
Ginger Berry was born in Texas and continues to live in Dallas, TX. She studied photography and embraced alternative process techniques early on as a way to further explore the history of photography. Her experience with 19th century processes continues to influence her approach to portraiture choosing to embrace the portraits of the past when one would sit still for several minutes. She was awarded first place in PDN’s portraiture competition in 2016.
E.G. Cunningham is the author of the poetry collection Ex Domestica (C&R Press, 2017) and a chapbook, Apologetics (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her poetry and prose have appeared in Barrow Street, Fugue, LUMINA, The Nation, Poetry London, Puerto del Sol, SAND: A Berlin Literary Journal, 3:AM Magazine, and other publications. She teaches at the University of California, Merced.