Flashback Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! We hope you’re enjoying break, and looking forward to a great Easter weekend. Is there a better way to spend a rainy Friday than with some fabulous poetry? We don’t think so.  So, if you missed our last post, feel free to read it here! Today we bring more great poetry from a past issue of the Laughing Medusa.

As part of the celebration for our new online home this year, we’ve started featuring a selection of some of our favorite pieces from previous print issues of our magazine. Each piece has been selected by a member of our Editorial Council, who’ve been kind enough to tell us why they love it (and why they hope you will, too). If this week’s choice or any others leave you wanting more—and we hope they do—be sure to check out the full version of our latest issue, now available online under that “Our Current Issue” tab you’ll find above.

This week, the featured poem is Appeal to My Body (After Constantine P. Cavafy) by Nicola McCafferty, and was chosen by the talented Celia Smithmier.

Here is what she has to say about it:

Writing a successful love poem is a really difficult thing, and writing one that’s empowering instead of self-pitying is something really special. This poem particularly stuck with me for this reason, as it’s both beautifully written as well as honest. In my mind, it encapsulates the human experience of love, as it combines both physical and mental heartbreak in a way that’s powerful and relatable while simultaneously empowering the “body”/reader.

Read on for the full poem:

Appeal to my body
after Constantine P. Cavafy
Body, remember how tempting
proximity can be.
Remember how laughter shakes
off the awkward but
can’t stop us from noticing too much,
how our bodies aren’t touching.
Two mounds of flesh on the couch
watching the mysteries of the ocean
unfurl to the mating calls of blue whales.
Remember nights wracked
with terror and grief and
all-over shakes and how he
picked up his bones and walked over
in the middle of the night
to watch jaded cartoons
and be next to your presence, again.
Body, remember arms wrapped
around shoulder blades,
unnecessary over leather jacket sleeves.
Remember the swirl of sour
beer after beer rolling
around on your anxious tongue and
breaking down barriers
of skin and bone and muscle.
Remember, if you can
what happens next.
Body, please, remember
bits and pieces.
Remember dampened grass
lying down, eyes probing for Orion
and maybe mouths just meeting.
Remember coarse curls and
the jab of a moustache
and remember soft
repetitive touching.
Remember that unfamiliar
weight of not you—
a bruise on pale skin.

Remember receding tides
of longing and
remember Guilt, too.
Moving up from your crooked toes
in waves.
Body, remember disappointment.
Remember how light you feel
without his body nearby
and how your fingers shiver
in search of that black coarseness.
Remember how hollow
whale songs might hit your ears
like the echoes of an emptied bed
and how your head can’t find
a place to rest.
Body, when all else fails
and your aching lungs
forget to breathe
remember his absence, too.

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