Three Poems

by Rachel Landau

Illustration by Claribel Wu

published February 1, 2019

new interior for a

hallmark birthday card

hornet wound i weep your memory


accounting for sapphire-stained rungs in the ladder though garnet symbolizes your birth


since the bronze age a gemstone for your keeping


balanced a palace between the hands of a ghost sensor

made the river borderline and the starlight noxious


to the corkboard blank space of my heartthrob:


sending love this time of year

and always


we looked different then,

but now

the calendar claims a calm july while rain on thayer street is thumbtacks


and lightning practices pointe on the avenues to perform a cement ballet


i wake to soft


silhouettes             in an ivory room your eyes have never seen


once airfields merged atoms, your lover, a pair of hands


now this is not december i could say to you next to me


imaginary; i could turn to freckles


i could switch out the rain for snow


a cave of dreams for the common cold


brunette for blonde this city for yours


dream an ark             and pray a polymer


notice what is sired in these storm drains, i demand a needless audio


i have lived among these endless hills and when i march these streets i recall your boston neighborhood named for its religious acclivity


for the time to mold a baby in a fielded womb


where trains walk to art museums, ambulances race to a hospital next door


i want only to speak to you again


and with what reason am i to do a fine job of carrying on in the rain


when miles away up the hill you are stumbling


delicate cycle

washing little spots between spots

sun spots mostly and spots of of silk

spun by worms littler than spots

washed to preserve an old newsprint

words drone and the heater hums

and spots fade in the laundry machine

washing little spots between spots




washer thumping like sins on breastbone

delicates desire to preserve balance

thumping dress inside to cover shoulders

delicates desire to preserve a sanctity

a body hidden in these

a shell like shallot

a body hidden in these

a questio n of pretending




sweet detergent for a soft soul delicate

in light—

imagine photosensitive paper in a dark laundry room

chemical truth for the unexposed

while soap cleans and makes fictions

and promises set forth by twisting

so spots fade in the laundry machine




pressing on the self to stain

out of view with last year’s favorite hat

straw and sun-damaged

i imagine the moment stepping forth

declaring in little speckled hours

block letters of a verse written to hide itself




i say yes to everything in the dryer

even if steadfast—to press ‘delicates’

it was all to protect

a material i borrowed

to hold in my hands

tiny eggshells worn

when i promised

this could be clean again

little spots between spots