Molly Bendall

If they’d told me to recapture

     the rhododendron glaze narrowly,


or to chaperone the night’s

    answer, I would have,


I could have, easily. But how to lure myself away


from my own body—that I didn’t know.


    Afternoon stroked

me (the hedonist), then there was a blur


like persuasive wisteria. Where


was the accident to get me out? Body after

    body—oversexed for nothing but a scrim,


a stir. I stretched into the instructions, the foreign

words (they licked my skin), stretched past


    their thresholds,

stretched further into their vestibules. Lucky grammar.


Honestly, I lived inside a ghost country,


    caught up in a candied lunacy.

      Power haloes.


Caught like a cluster of bells.

    Hear them?


Hear them winging it, making up


    a step for absence amiss?

      We were a figure for someone’s


apology or scandal, uncollected gifts, frays


to pray by, necks forming


    an erotic choir. Two of us

shared a smoke, looked for a moment


to take a roadtrip, a deep-set scenario. (She talked

against the blue mock-shade

    of the dressing room with its fabrics

and stretch of mesh). One


of many shes trying to find the right music


    for her vintage jacket brooch.


      Another stood in front of me, her hair


Like waxy fruit. We were nudes in a row

    speckled with seed pearls. What flourishing


we thought we’d mastered, but I wanted anything


to replace gray elastic, the branches fluid

    and poised at the window,


anything to lie in wait for me.

Found In Volume 27, No. 03
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Molly Bendall
About the Author

Molly Bendall is the author four collections of poetry, After EstrangementDark SummerAriadne’s Island and most recently, Under the Quick from Parlor Press. Her poems have appeared in the anthology American Hybrid: The Norton Anthology of New Poetry. Currently she teaches at the University of Southern California.