Because he sweet-talks her in places she doesn’t want to be where her fingertips turn bloodless from the rhythmic pushing motions with her hands away away because the tea he serves are wills and wonts she never hears him breathe at night beside him her dreams are tumbleweed and tell her I am only one over and over because she chews time he hangs her love out to dry and oil paint takes a minimum of thirty years to dry she can never remember exactly this dream because she has read somewhere six new planets orbit a star five in a liveable zone only they are light years from earth and already what we love is time they spent is slipping because why is for Wyoming and weather and cross-eyed it is weightless and welcome and also for wasp and for where because their love is finding a view she is sick of this small miracle under the clouds where he gets in her hair cajoles her outdoes her outwits her because she may be an orange peeling itself under a desert sun when he can’t get over how beautiful yellow is!
by Astrid Alben
'Why' is copyright © Astrid Alben, 2011. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from Ai! Ai! Pianissimo (Arc Publications, 2011).
Astrid Alben is an Anglo-Dutch poet who grew up in Kent and the Netherlands. She read English Literature and Philosophy at Edinburgh University. Since 2006 her poems and reviews have been published in magazines such as The Wolf, Poetry Review, Drunken Boat, TLS, Stand and Shearsman. Alben has translated the poems of several Dutch contemporary poets, including the complete oeuvre of F. van Dixhoorn. Ai! Ai! Pianissimo is her first collection. She lives in Amsterdam and London. In 2004 Alben co-founded the Pars Foundation. Pars collects the findings – such as architectural sketches, articles, music scores, research data, journal excerpts – of renowned and emerging artists and scientists and binds these in a publications series. Findings on Ice (2007) and Findings on Elasticity (2011) were published as part of the Atlas of Creative Thinking. You can read more poems from Ai! Ai! Pianissimo here, and listen to Astrid Alben read her poems on her website.
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