THE LOST MUSEUM
All my life stars falling on cars, the laundry
on the line, stars in my hair, open mouth,
and in my chest a massive celestial body.
How is it possible to feel you inside? The Lost
Museum is full of buildings. Some still stand –
it’s not their nonexistence that makes them lost,
but their state of ruin. Naked men are reconstructed.
Sometimes you can find the lost on a coin.
You won’t find anyone inside your house,
the postmistress said. Georges de La Tour,
who lived quietly at home, kept painting
the Magdalen, and two engravings, though only one
survives: at a table in long hair, nightdress,
dark mesh on her hands like gloves, veiling
her neck and mouth, skull where she rests
her fingertips. It is so quiet in her room, smoke signals
from a candle – nothing in the mirror except reflected
bone. She has that kind of sleek thin horse’s hair
I’ve always loved – strand by smooth strand pulled
back from her face to rest on her shoulder. Swing
when she moves. What can we do but love who
we love even if you won’t find them in our houses? If
someone must remove my head, saw open
my chest I want all this light to be what spills out.
GOODBYE TO A
Someone has to blue metal
for the gunmaker. Blue the gown
worn by those imprisoned,
licensed to beg. Goodbye
to Abdicate, to Abode, chunky heels
crossing wood floors at 3 a.m., door
slam hard behind a woman
who wants a cigarette, goodbye cigarette
smoke rising through heating
vents to coat my bed. Goodbye
Abroad, fear of anyone traveling,
planes. Goodbye Absence, withholding
myself from you; bye to Abstention, my sugared
hair sticky with coconut and jojoba, angel
food cake. Goodbye angel food cake,
which is my second favorite, cake of Cape
Cod, the special pan, of five years old,
bumpy browned top soft white inside still
strangely cool, cake my mother made though
she taught first grade every day. Goodbye
Acarus, blue spider-like mite. Goodbye
Acetate of Halloween costumes and flammable
dresses of no give and cardboard shine. Aker,
the current in the sea, how can I say goodbye to you?
The only way around is through. The drunk forget
they’re tired until they drop, talking
without pause. Their constant low
TV in the background
makes me feel hospitalized.
Start with Adawn, which after all
contains my middle name,
almost my first, my father’s
choice: Aurora. He said, If you want
to see yourself, just watch
the sun come up. How could
such a thing still be
true? But maybe imagine
her, a girl unnamed. Emerald
of fairy tales, and violets.
Kelle Groom’s poetry collections include Five Kingdoms and Luckily (both from Anhinga Press) and Underwater City, selected for the University Press of Florida Contemporary Poetry Series. Her memoir, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl (Simon & Schuster) is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice selection, a Library Journal Best Memoir, Oprah O Magazine selection, and Oxford American Editor’s Pick. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, New York Times, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Her awards include a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Prose, State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs grant, and two Florida Book Awards. Groom was the Black Mountain Institute Fellow atUniversity of Nevada-Las Vegas and the Library of Congress and was Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe, where she is now on the faculty of the low-residency MFA Program. Last year, she was the James Merrill House Fellow and a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellow. Groom recently completed her fourth collection of poems, SPILL, and her second memoir manuscript, HOW TO CURE A FRIGHT. She is the Director of the Summer Program Workshops at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.