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  • Lauren Sparks

A Poem I Meant to Title 'Venus in Gemini.'


The word landed with a stony thud

onto my still-beating chest. Anna Akhmatova

I open the door a crack to try and press a story

into the room left by your leaving or is it that something left you. I don’t know how death

works. I don’t know why: I don’t care why.

The story-light washes over my hands

I hadn’t realized held anything

brought anything, squirming into the room in which every man

is the man I didn’t love—every bulb, seam, opening

fluorescent stream—cutting land

into landscape—into land

scraped & seeking

craters, shapes—wounds

of flaw.

I feared the dark as a child

feared what it might not

contain I wrote those lines for the poem this poem was supposed

to be before I got the letter you wrote me

from the box in my closet before Miranda asked if I’d call once I was off the rainy road…

This was supposed to be a poem

about me not trusting myself

to love someone not a poem

about someone I love becoming no longer a someone. Monica, it feels important for me to say you were a moon, quietly touching the shapes of every person with a silver generosity of attention how I admired so

how you wept so

all the time

because of it.

I hold your letter and my eyes clog

with moon-dust—my heart heavy and moon-wrung, moon-

ringed—& ringing with quiet


Lauren, it feels important for me to say that over and over I’m reminded how very many lives each of us lives, inside of this one, and how little we can ever really know another, and how complicated each of us is, arriving anywhere.

I open the door a crack and you just keep arriving.

I open the door a crack and the night pours in.


Lauren Sparks is an MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University. She spends most of her time writing experimental poems and essays, staring at the moon over Lake Superior, and scraping a lot of snow off her car. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Knox College, interned for Copper Canyon Press in the fall of 2019, and was recently a finalist for The Cupboard Pamphlet’s 2022 chapbook competition. She loves the associative and the lyric.

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