Emily Kendal Frey


B says all longing is spiritual longing

And I believe him. I look

At his face, its carved

Boat of father,

Bridge over water.

I use the sharpest

Scissors to trim hair. Can you

Stay with me, see where

This ends? You don’t have to

Like it, you may even

Chew the hate-chalk.

You might believe this

To be a torn flower,

Shit brown,

An animal urge to kill or maul

Might rise up and then your own

Father or mother or person

You loved, smeared

Along a line. And now what.

We don’t know why

The cord thickens

To a root and in the morning

We can’t move.

I loved

A person and

They left. I carry

The bag of lemons.

I long for what’s

Not yet. When I sleep the gods

Come in and arrange

My hair. My mom is not

There and neither is my dad.

I wake and make myself

A woman, barely.

I know there’s

More for me to give

Up. If I couldn’t

See you, you would

Still be there.

Emily Kendal Frey lives in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of several chapbooks and chapbook collaborations, including FRANCES, AIRPORT, BAGUETTE, and THE NEW PLANET. THE GRIEF PERFORMANCE, her first full-length collection, won the Norman Farber First Book Award from The Poetry Society of America in 2012. Her second collection, SORROW ARROW, is available now from Octopus Books.

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