Keepsake Serenade by Alice Anderson


Let me remember only the starry explosion

of our limbed violence. Let me see

the faint reflection on my thighs, through

the windowpane of stockings, the blue-green

bruise of your bite. Let me wear the sweater

you bought to match those marks

day after day until

it falls to ruin. Let me fall

one more time into our night

before I set it away, like a skein of scarlet

silk ribbon, thrown and unfurling

into the battered sky.

Let me call myself, Girl.

Your voice is silence. Your voice

is the color of birds in mean flocks

over the fields: a fast shadow, passing.

Let me catch the ribbons falling from the sky

and bind my wrists and ankles tight. Erase

this freedom: keep me bound in ecstasy. Constrain me in sorrow’s

flaxen destruction. Let me have courage enough

for your absence. Let me adore

everything: every golden corner of your

quiet soul, every splintered moment of your

ravenous soul, let me take the palm prints

from your gut and devour

their slap-shaped wounds like so much

memory candy. Let me give you midnight-colored

velvet pouches filled with searing inverse oil lanterns

to cast darkness on your every regret. Let me

adore you. Every splintered shard

of your furious, exquisite heart. Let me, please,


I’m soon to forget.



Alice Anderson‘s collection “Human Nature” won the Bobst Prize from NYU and the Best First Book Prize from The Great Lakes Colleges Association. Her work is included in “American Poetry: The Next Generation” and “On The Verge: Emerging Poets in America.” After recovering from traumatic brain injury, she has completed two new poetry manuscripts, THE WATERMARK and ELECTRIC PLUM BURLESQUE.