Poetry - Issue 11 | January 2011

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

by Joshua Michael


ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS

for Molly Gaudry

Your friends gladly pin you with dollars,
chip in what we can to repair your temple’s
leaky roof. In return, you write us poems.
We pray that you’ll strip us down,

bleed truths from bare hearts
our tongues wouldn’t allow.
We hear you behind the sheet rock
and rotting studs, shouting at the dust

particles that waltz in shafts of sunlight,
the nerve of them to treat the end as a shindig.
We wince at the shattering of fine china
against the stillness of your life.

One by one, we brave the threshold
into your room. You’ve scratched our poems
into the nakedness of the walls, each curving
letter resembling a thread of your black hair

scribbled on the pillow where you rest your head.
Our fingers trace every curl, every looping
strand of your script, patient to discover,
weave ourselves into a braid.


About the author

Joshua Michael Stewart was born in Sandusky, Ohio, but has lived in western Massachusetts since 1998. He likes to drive throughout New England, where he has (almost) struck a bear, many deer, and a famous folk singer. Joshua’s poems have been published in Georgetown Review, Massachusetts Review, Rattle, William and Mary Review, and Worcester Review. Visit him here.

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