Poem by Monica Raymond & Art by Lydia Crouse


In the absence of a love we become
abstract, distract, distrait.  Unmade
            and useless as a bed.
I liked the bedclothes in a hovel or nest
close dressed around me, rippled as the abode
            of any mammal. Your visible
parts were rough and your invisible silky, un-
touched. Enough. Untouched enough. You gave
            me crystal

earrings, watery globes with tweak of rose, worlds
with junket sunsets. I have one long and
            twisted silver thing
you said was etching of a marsh, the grasses
            and the wild
geese flying. V-ed. Overhead. It is victory, peace
            and where
I would sometimes touch you, forked like a ginseng root
            that split in earth means longevity

only better and wetter and more to be
            petted and stirred
and you held me more fiercely.

Monica Raymond writes poems, plays, librettos, lyrics and sometimes prose from an old house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A MacDowell Colony Fellow, Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow, Swan Fellow (Vermont Studio Center), and Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow, Raymond has taught writing and interdisciplinary arts at Harvard, CUNY, and the Boston Museum School.
Lydia Crouse’s “i could smell salt interrupting it telling me about its life, 2020″ (oil, acrylic and crayon on canvas 76 x 90 inches) depicts a world ending, but there is hope for the city, as a monstrous serpent wreaks havoc on the classical phallic columns and everything that represents abuse of power, hierarchy and inequality.