American Elegies, 1994-2014

Annie Diamond

Published in Cargoes, the literary journal at Hollins University


There is nowhere I have loved enough

not to leave. I spent 9 months barefoot

in Ohio, long enough to get

knocked up and have triplets

with the stout Midwestern moon,

I returned luminous and bruised.

I am sentimental, not

the knife blade but the handle, but

I pretend otherwise when I put things

like knocked up in poems, and

pine are the trees but also the verb

I do for trees, needled as novocaine,

also the raw perfume of Connecticut winter

where I turned eighteen and learned to smoke

cigarettes under the bandstand of stars.

I wept for childhood then, not knowing before

how to miss something so close. I think I might

never outgrow words like perfume and wept,

I am too far gone, delirious with softness,

and the thing we all learn about

living in English is that come and home

will never sound the same, our tongues

get used to missing. In French

the missing gets reversed,

the thing missed shakes hands with the verb.

To borrow its construction, the secondhand

Honda is missing to me,

parked at the soccer field, sitting knees

to knees, talking of what became now.