Emily Sieu Liebowitz

GOODBYE 10

Maybe they are not strangers, but some closer
associations. Perhaps strangers are
decisions & maybe a friend of a
friend will be the one that saves us from moving
another inch.

Or perchance it is before Ellis Island & over
in Prospect Heights. Myself, widower
&/or cartomancer, made to stay beneath or scatter
to be distributed elsewhere by breath
or breeze.

But if the letters stayed restricted to appellation,
would that make X a little less than metaphor?
Or would the word become closer to a spade
that when opening the earth
finds the dead as well as treasure?

Or would X become more like a portrait in its
nature? Less like something overheard in town,
but still a way to refer to oneself. Not me or you,
we or they, but more like Sylvia’s dogwood is blooming
& Susie’s are in blossom too.

In need of clarification, or rather to provide an exact sense,
X told me the victim part is what people talk about when I leave the room.
I told X… I told X… take this as my vocation:
Are you not a product of woe-tide also? The spirits
of ourselves equally unmeasurable

or resistant to comparison?
Whose fault then replaces a plainly heard footstep
with a quaint term of speech? Who marked
my marrow as inexperience or bad luck? ’Twas
careless how we expected to endure,

that we would turn the whole thing around.
“Found out” or “discovered”
that his face one day just went away but
that the army of myself on the run left his
image orphaned. O I just might.


EMILY SIEU LIEBOWITZ is the author of the collection National Park (Gramma, 2018), longlisted for the Believer Book Award, and the chapbook In Any Map (The Song Cave, 2015). Her writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Lana Turner, and Poetry. She splits her time between Brooklyn and her hometown, Hayward, California.


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