Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Forty
Spring 2016
 
these are my letters to John Keats
Elizabeth Forsythe

he was my age when he died he was my age when he died when he died & i was not born
but my birthday is before his my birthday is five days before his & five times five he died
at twenty-five i am twenty-five today & yesterday & tomorrow & he is twenty-five always
            how do you love a dead man
step one steep jasmine tea
step two scald your tongue & worry it against your teeth
step three read his name in the leaves      put the leaves on your burnt tongue
step four put the mug back in the sink & crack the rim this is how you love a dead man
step five keep a sliver of cracked porcelain beneath your burnt tongue
step six learn to be okay with the act of forgetting          this is how i love a dead man
[if it helps        hold his bones in your palm]                  i pour his tea
step seven stay away from salt                                       i knit him scarves
step eight fill a yellow envelope with                             i write him letters
step nine burn it                                                            i trace his words
step ten leave it at his grave                                           i know how he died
& this is loving a dead man                                           i am waiting to die
& this is loving a dead man                                           this is how i love a dead man
            this is the trick of it
                        you have to also love his death

About Elizabeth Forsythe

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