Erica Rothman

Issue 20

Into the darkness they go, the wise and the beautiful,
the tender and the kind.
The doctoring moment is over.

A child, then a man now a feather.
Mirrors of sleep.

Absence, it doth remove
the hours and days of everyday life.

I know but I do not approve.

Silence without color sound without smell,
only clouds, snow, a white business in the trees.

Something like life but only as dying is like life.
Silence with weeping.

O Moon
that sighs and shifts in its slumber.

I know but I do not approve.

Mirrors of sleep
and all we need of hell.

Bowing not knowing to what,
nothing left of me but smoke.
Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.

Source & Method

Cento. The contributors in order: Edna St Vincent Millay, Mary Jo Bang, Anne Stevenson, John Donne, Louise Glück, Donald Hall, Rita Dove, Joseph Brodsky, Emily Dickinson, WS Merwin, Deborah Garrison, William Faulkner

Erica Rothman is a former psychotherapist and documentary filmmaker. Her husband, Gary, died in 2018 after four months of marriage. Poetry had found its way into her life at previous transitions, and has been the most helpful form of art during this time of sadness and grief. Erica lives in North Carolina with Clover, the best dog ever.

Photo by Jim Strasma