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A Relation & Desiderata

poems by Jesse Morales


Windows in a rainstorm. Dying sight.
From each vanishing lens we gaze
on our mutilated world,
calling out as children call for water in the night
to misremembered causes and Gods.
We perform our valiant solitudes.
The manacled are here, and halls of mirrors,
our terror of strangers held at bay.
And we stay awake, lonesome wandering
through streams of news,
false flying tempests that strangle our days.
Screens rave like Cyclops of legend,
the blood-dimmed tide has risen and gone,
we ourselves hope nothing for future
nor recall our own riddled past.
Yet in our moments of wanting,
that void-drenched longing we each deeply know,
Kierkegaard’s lotus waits to unfold.
Windows streak with water. Rivers overflow.
Newborn pupils brim with light, oil slicks flame.
I write:
the self is a relation (constellation, push and pull)
that relates (om mani padme hum)
itself (a well) to itself (an endless sea).
In the prism of existence our colors scatter
like erstwhile moonbeams on water.


Closing in upon memory
smooth as a floating swan
considering its own reflection,
we drift towards but never meet
that other, darker being.
Through time’s velvetine ripples
we swim out to firmer shores
of beginning, of action, of end. 
How calm the sense of first desire
washing our blank faces
as we, unknowing, check the mirror
for perceptible signs of wear. 
Even so, longing seeps quiet
until our lakes of want set in.
Why we navigate the old
(flavor of cream, final kiss, 
lingering licorice scent)
more readily than futures, 
why mothers bear nighttime screams
better than needful growth,
why one look haunts years:
the swan’s desiderata 
as it seeks an imagined end,
milk-feathered swan
tracking its flighty shadow
while the sun curves to blue evening. 


Jesse Morales is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer who received her artistic training in contemporary dance. Her work has appeared in Poetica, Geez Magazine, Apeiron ReviewThe Mighty100 Word Story and Danse Macabre, among other publications. She lives and writes in Greensboro, North Carolina. Read her previous poems in Deep South here.

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