the memory of surgical perfume

by LINDSEY ROYCE

No longer anguished about where you’re stationed or if you’re alright, I believe I hear your whistling bloom across our bedroom’s heavens like the colorful snapdragons you’d sometimes bring home. Your diffuse presence marks this hour with a clock whose arm sways like heatwaves. We are the lullaby texted through a phone system. We are gesso and canvas gelled for paint; we are the beginning of a poem shaded as fragile as a votive’s flame. We are ink that beats quarter time on paper, and the artists who pen-pal by piano. We are all these powers, as well as sister, brother, father, lover—and we are nothing but the memory of surgical perfume and the conundrum of time, of separation.

.

LINDSEY ROYCE’S poems have been published in many journals, including Aeolian Harp #8, #7 and #5Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts; The Hampden-Sydney Review; The New York Quarterly; Poet Lore; and Washington Square Review. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Royce’s first poetry collection, Bare Hands, was published in September of 2016, and her second collection, Play Me a Revolution, published in September of 2019, won second place for poetry in the 2020 Independent Publishers Book Awards. 

.

.

.

.