palliative                                                                                                                —Natasha Sajé

from pallium  
the cloak that covers the body on its way to burial

a cloth of comfort

comfort once meant strong and now
means soft and easeful

as in morphine and mouth sponges
as in care
as in acquiring at the end

the cloak
from clocca    bell-shaped

as when the world was quieter
and the sound of a bell
could ring in an afterlife

I'd like to begin anticipating
my body as a sponge
filled and wrung out again and again
by pain and the will to live

palliative            not from pale
as in beyond the
staked vines on a fence dividing
governable from wild

known from unknown


(This poem is available in our store  
as a broadside signed by the author.)

photo: David Baddley

photo: David Baddley

Natasha Sajé is the author of three books of poems, most recently Vivarium (Tupelo, 2014); a book of poetry criticism, Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory, (University of Michigan Press, 2014); and many other essays. She is a professor of English at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, and a member of poetry faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts M.F.A. in Writing Program.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2016