Alyse Bensel

Soft Surrender

This forgetting is like singed air after fire. Like furs gathering dust in the back of the closet. Like my tongue coated in honey. Like a flat palm pressed against the floor. Like a whale song caught between floating ribs. Like peach pits soaking for almond liqueur. Like connective tissue, elastic softening. A play all in denouement. Like a labyrinth, like one-way streets, like staggered notes. Like peeling a winter orange, tropical heat remainders, my mouth fogging up the window. I’d compress my spine a few inches, darken my hair from late summer to mid-winter, fleck off my skin like a birch tree. Like becoming someone else, I would decompose to a landfill symphony, my eyebrow arches pebbled meteorites.

Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things, a poetic biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press, forthcoming 2020), and three chapbooks, including Lies to Tell the Body (Seven Kitchens Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly ReviewGulf Coast, Poetry International, and West Branch. She teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference.