"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


Lines

I took the cure, so
forgive me for running hot and cold,
remitting the usual to obscurity.

I must have asked for this,
thin lines that frame my mouth
even when I do not smile.

When I spoke again, I was careful to put
fire blossoms on my tongue
snow feathers in my hair.

If you think it is so easy, then
draw a straight line
and tear it up, but only perfectly.

I pull my shadows in around me,
study Shenandoah lines going south,
Raphine, Mint Spring, Stuart’s Draft.


Roberta Senechal de la Roche is an historian, sociologist, and poet of Micmac and French Canadian descent, and was born in western Maine. She now lives in the woods outside of Charlottesville, Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine and the University of Virginia, and is Professor of History at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Her poems have appeared in the Colorado Review, Vallum, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, and many others.

Cover photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

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