Emily Spencer

Those who run straight away for love
return home drawing circular ovals.


It was cold and cold
crept into each orifice.

Smiling into a frozen oval
fountain, a strange face

fractured into mosaic—
as if each man replacing

men who replaced me
with big cities and diseases

threw the wet flesh he stole
into the blue glittering depths.

Strange face, love
of my life. Leaving

this skeleton for
bare buildings and

thin men thinned
into lost architecture.

I was a spineless disciple
of false gods, judges, jobs.

My life drawn like Mirror
Lake, oval and you can circle

it. Oval and you can circle it
several times as wind chimes

from Cincinnati’s seven hills
are chorus to this run

around away inside of
Loss. A deepening lonely cry

of the black wolf in Eden Park
resides within itself. So sing

self into Mirror Lake. The voice
echoes and embraces the cured

spectator of the Northeast’s lonely
doing and a melody returns

to being green, rooted here,
becomes skin to bone to soul.

I am a tumbleweed blown back
from the turned backs frozen stiff

of the world up East outside East
Walnut Hills—filled world, leaking.

Those who run straight away for love
return home drawing circular ovals.

Such that Jamaal, studying fear,
discovers the cure for loneliness

at the bottom of Mirror Lake—
above the pennies, watery grace,

God this is a face.
God, this is too much water to waste.
God, good God, I am embraced.

At Mirror Lake, we pace and pace
fixed points along a curved line

spines bowed dragging a steel
plough thrown off for the cold dip

our mouths drip, drinking what lies
between the self and another, God!

We say as if to pray. Predators
slink away from joyful laughing.

Each body of water beside another
body of water watering the world.

Mirror Lake is so exquisitely tiled,
a skull in Columbus mosaics then heals

as if what we did for twenty years past
two thousand was Feel and Think
and swipe by our souls for dimes.

My title for it “This is fine. I am living
my best life” at Mirror Lake: a pig flies
glazed in quarters and woman-sized.

Emily Spencer’s poetry is published in the Kenyon Review, Pleiades , and elsewhere. She studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship.

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