Two Poems


Rosanna Warren


  In memoriam Teresa Iverson

But the notebook can’t clamp shut
over your dying in your armchair and
sitting two weeks before the neighbors

called the police because of the smell.
There’s a hole in the story, a hole
in our friendship where you went missing

and I opted for another plot and started
a new journal. They had to
tear out the floorboards under your chair.

Is it a comfort to say
you disappeared before you disappeared?
It’s a comfort to

blame. To forget and remember
at the same time—is this what they call
“In Memoriam”? Tanagra figure, Tanagra

face: you danced, collected stones, construed
Greek verbs, you read Aeschylus and heard
Electra praying to Hermes, god

of the Underworld, summoning spirits
from deep in the earth. You summoned,
they came, they crouched among your stones

inviting you into that dark passage
whose shadow falls
at every turn of a page.

Liliane’s Scarf

So what’s that about, gold chains printed on silk scarves?
And whoever thought women want to be draped
in gold chains? But fabulous sums are spent
on those Chanel scarves. Oh, to be a walking gold mine,
or a gold-bridled thoroughbred, or chained to a bank
vault or a patriarchal name.
Dying, shriveled, alone in her high-ceilinged salon,
enthroned on her couch in a tobacco haze
while the Marie Laurencin watercolor faded slowly
behind its glass, Liliane sent me
her Chanel scarf. To what was she chained?
To angoisse—which is not quite anguish. To
the dream of a lost château. To the yellow star
pinned to her coat as she walked to school, Jewish,
Parisian, and bound to be hunted down
like her aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandmother, torn
from their apartments, shoved into trucks. I don’t know how
to knot this silk stylishly around my neck.