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I Will Be Her Apprentice
by Carmen Giménez Smith

as if I were a hunger because
it is our bleak and common future
to reverse the sphinx. I study the meander
of her logic for context. Sometimes it is
like a poem that is not quite realized
filled with hollows and bursts.
The bursts are a stranger’s
wild grief and rage. She asks to go
home when she’s home. She screams
for the things we’ve hidden from her.
Other times we circle the same spots,
and I try to be as I know she was
with me once, remedy or anchor.
I’m a fair to poor copy, but
I was born her proxy.

That you don’t know her is your
misfortune. Know what was of her,
which was a hot planet’s core,
a late summer’s best light.
Perhaps she is still those images,
but the center of her is now only
in my essay, in my poem.
As metaphor I summon
a soft pink vulnerable jelly.
It is translucent and contains the future.
I hold it in my hand and against a lamp because
this is our new intimacy. My nails trace
the brown spots that mark her losses.
Beautiful and sad and strange, I say
because I’ve made it into something else.