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About this poet

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon is the author of ] Open Interval [ (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009). She is an associate professor of English at Cornell University and lives in Ithaca, New York.

RR Lyrae: Matter

He still exists as flesh; it's the idea
that's dissipated—: husband :—what was he?
But a word I loved? There is no panacea
for missing syllables: his body: we
all know what matter's mostly made of—: space
obtains—: One day I realized I beleive—: 
the space in everything is God: that force
of present absence: pen: expanse: I grieve—
] old fashioned: distance: squinting it into view [
between body and name—in here!—I'm loose 
as love is—: nebulous—: what good
this pointillism—: our eyes won't do—: 
Sometimes the absences in us seem so profuse, 
I wonder we don't pass through wood.

From ] Open Interval [. Copyright © 2009 by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon. Used with permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

From ] Open Interval [. Copyright © 2009 by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon. Used with permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon is the author of ] Open Interval [ (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009).

by this poet

poem
I begged for tongues the way that I was taught—:
hanala si ke andana—: whispered close.
Was this the Holy Spirit that I sought?—:
Bashful tongue drawing silence from my throat.
Trinity lesson, clicked behind my teeth,
Welling like memory I stood to receive
There at the altar. Blood that flowed beneath
2
poem
pretty's just armor
something else

to wear like a dress or a name
not magic like skin

apparel apparent apparently
repellant pretty
don't draw

flies like
honey we just pretend

it does skin is

what draws you don't
believe me

just think skin flick 

the winter sky 
is not a skin you 
might fly right 

out
poem
The actors mill about the party saying rhubarb
because other words do not sound like conversation.
In the kitchen, always, one who's just discovered
beauty, his mouth full of whiskey and strawberries.
He practices the texture of her hair with his tongue;
in her, five billion electrons pop their atoms. Rhubarb
in