Maya Catherine Popa
Because in dreams I am looking up from the cellar
and my husband is braiding snakes in the yard,
so design is a measure of iron distance
and cyclic drills; the dream is one.
Shade of our own small marriage, shade
and you in pagan seraphs drop bombs like hail.
By virtue of what the priests say, I believe
you will die with the strangeness of a light
capable of torching cities. But by the window,
light is the moon that will not dissolve
what's in front of it. So dreams offer
the less-demon of our ways; I say the cellar
is the dark dropped, you the light national.
And your theory wins, so you leave,
the disarming logic yielding loud stains
everywhere. For so long war's argument
draws us out of ourselves
and into engraver's stone-light.
There are crueler ways of making music.
As a girl, I made crickets perform in gray grass
now I'm glad to have learned the design of ill-use;
you see, I can't undo what draws us to agony
unutterable, dull like the spines of animals,
and ours a row of faulty staircases to thought.
In my violence, I wail in a sunny trap.
I wrap the bandage, become the bandage,
useless. You can spill at a rate that laughs at gauze.
Now the night is Mars and nothing else,
men and none whole, I call for you.
I want to take needles to the blades of everything,
the spindle legs of the caught and accidental.
Because war infects the land's lymphs
and stands on what we built of windows.
While in ourselves the cellars are everywhere,
and the jaws of snakes braid awake.
Maya-Catherine Popa attends Barnard College, where she is getting her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing with a focus on Women's Studies. She edits for and has also had work featured in the Columbia Review and A Gathering of the Tribes. Her essays can be found in The Huffington Post and the anthology RED the Book. She was last year's recipient of the Amy Loveman Memorial Award for undergraduate poetry.