By Patty Paine


Purple, A Morphology

Purple/contrapuntal, suspended
between love and lost.
To window, birds have you fixed.
All day you purple, sad
to see you purple so.
All the things I could say,
but don’t (purple).
The unsaid is a fragile nest
of sorrow. Purple
untangles itself from knotted
branches. Again, I was there
only in the telling.
This too: purple.
You say, the dead don’t need
us. I say grief, like purple, is penance
we inflict on our bodies. In silt
and tannin we write contrition
on skin. I am hungry
for everything purple.
Sorrow long enough, and it all goes
purple. The man I love wants
to know purple.
Because I love him, I’m desperate
to tell. Because I love him,
I wont.


i don't want

to write about Danny, that storm
dark sky tricking LED’s in the Econo Lodge

parking lot into shine.
Me in a rage, you high

again. It’s odd what the mind holds
onto…. Weeds snarled in a chain-

link fence. A pool so empty it fills
with falling. A broken

shovel propped against a dumpster.
Sometimes we can’t know

the difference between love
and hurting ourselves

in the most familiar way.
In a month you’ll have been

dead two years. Grief is a wound
to memory, which is another way of

saying when I see you
now, you are always walking away.

Patty Paine is the author of Grief & Other Animals (Accents Publishing, 2015) The Sounding Machine (Accents Publishing, 2013), Feral (Imaginary Friend Press, 2012), Elegy & Collapse (Finishing Line Press, 2006), and co-editor of Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry (Garnet Publishing & Ithaca Press, 2011) and The Donkey Lady and Other Tales from the Arabian Gulf (Berkshire, 2013). Her poems, reviews, and interviews have appeared in Blackbird, The Louisville Review, Gulf Stream, The Journal and other publications. She is the founding editor of Diode Poetry Journal, and Diode Editions, and is an assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar where she teaches writing and literature, and is interim director of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

© 2015