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JUDITH BARRINGTON

 

 

 

judith barrington

Judith Barrington has published three poetry collections, most recently Horses and the Human Soul and two chapbooks: Postcard from the Bottom of the Sea and Lost Lands (winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Award). Her fourth collection, The Conversation, will be published in 2015 by Salmon Press. She was the winner of the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize for 2013. She teaches workshops in the USA, Britain, and Spain and has been a faculty member of the MFA Program at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping for Death

 

We are searching for a spark

between the living and the dead—

something that might ignite near the carved name

that waits for a visitor,

one who perhaps has nothing left to say.

 

We are searching for a plot to buy—a plot

where the spark might catch

when one of us lies down there, bones intact

or maybe just a heap of ash—a flash

of recognition when the other appears

 

holding a flower from our garden

or a bowl of raspberries the dead one

is too dead to enjoy—eyes too empty

to appreciate the scarlet fruit

she once picked each morning before breakfast.

 

          I imagine myself the buried one.

          I imagine myself the visitor.

 

Visitor is easier to conjure

though more painful—loss being

an ache in the living body, an ache

I’ve felt before, whereas being the dead one

is unfathomable. Nothing at all like sleep.

 

Here is an available plot. A tree looms nearby.

Neighbors to the south, a close couple,

but somehow I don’t warm to it                                             

as if house hunting on a street that fails to call out:

die here or lie here or wait here for someone to visit.

 

We are searching for a spark between the living

and the soon-to-be dead: one above, the other below

though we don’t know which is which, don’t know

upright from prone or what it will be like down there.

What if I should ask: can I try it on for size?

 

 

 

©2014 Judith Barrington

 

 

Author Links

 

Judith Barrington homepage

Poems by Barrington in The 2River View

'Sestina at the Maldron Hotel, Ireland': poem in Rose Red Review

 

 

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