Braverman - Escora

122 x 113 cm. Charcoal on Paper. 2001.


Winter Blues
Kate Braverman

The women are extravagant with lace
and sadness.
They listen to Lady Day incessantly.
They, too, wear flowers and the tooth marks
of tiny metal needles.

Love is killing them.
Love is killing them.

They buy French negligees
to weep in.
They wait at cold windows
in high-heeled satin sandals,
fixed like moths in reverse,
drunk on the draft.
Their feet turn blue.

Young men refuse them,
saying they hate women that cling.
Their arms fall off.

They are exquisite with silence,
undemanding as a vase of out-of-season
gardenias, perishing quiet as transplanted skin.

They chart their abandonment.
Glistening empty shell
of vodka and heroin.
They know what it is to be limbless,
to bury a father,
to cross the damp grass,
select the plot.
Their daughters don’t call.
It’s been six years since that cruise to Jamaica.

Love is killing them.
Love is killing them.

They do not expect marriage proposals
or hand-painted dolls of porcelain
in a Christmas stocking.
They’re no one’s girl.
That’s how the cards fell.
Seven of cups, the kings upended.

They keep going, polishing their scars,
begging for love, saying give me a postcard,
a trinket, a pat on the head,
a promise, even if you break it.

Night is dammed by hidden gas lamps,
chill as the rained into basement rooms
where forbidden séances are held
and the occasional dead enter
edgy as insomniacs,
nerves bitten raw by worms,
flesh diaphanous as incense.

Such women are tough as glass.
Sing to them, they shatter.

This poem is borrowed from

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