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Two Poems of the Living Past


Today I eat lunch with the anatomy skeleton

hanging wired together in the art room.

We shake hands. I want to kiss her,

because the bones are real,

and maybe she would bloom out of her decay,

cicada-like and ancient.


A quick, perhaps forgivable glance at the pelvis

confirms, yes, it is a she, and I name her Charlotte

because I like the ring of it.

Leave her body to science?

No, never to science. But to art, maybe.

What color were her eyes, I wonder,

lurking like embers in a heap of bones?


So old, at least now she presides here,

mutely telling the charcoal-drenched artist,

This is all you are, so look.

And if I sit here often enough, insisting on Charlotte,

maybe the name will rattle something awake

in that bone cocoon, knit muscle and skin over that blank,

and she will blink in slow, lush approval.


Rain in Glastonbury

The abbey’s ruined arches jut from the ground

like giant ribs. From beneath them,

this fine mist seems just the thing


for atmosphere, camera perfect and on cue.

It mutes every sound—the tread of our rubber boots,

the tour guide’s practiced tones.


And the bronze plaque marking King Arthur’s grave,

where he is not buried,

stands quietly matter-of-fact in its lie.


We snap pictures. Sure,

with the mist, this could be Avalon.

It isn’t. Maybe that’s why somebody


tore down the abbey years ago and used the stone

to build that big, faceless house on the hill.


Aza Pace

Aza Pace’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, South Dakota Review, The Madison Review, and Moon City Review, among others. She is the winner of a 2017 Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets.