Three Poems by Marisa Silva-Dunbar

It’s not how she expected

I think she lost it after seeing junkies on the streets of Paris, her Paris.
The hollow eyes of strangers sucking her in. She wrote angry letters home
ranting about how she bought the lie when purchasing her plane ticket.

It was not like the movies, there were no whimsical accordions
accompanying her down the street, and she would not find Hemingway
and Fitzgerald in the charming bistros while she sipped on merlot.

Where were the women in polka-dotted scarves tied at the neck?
She’d seen them in silvery films, and pastel pictorials.
Oh, how they’d slink down the Champs-Élysées in trench coats.

She wanted to sip those women with coffee and hot milk,
swallow them in a buttery pastry and hope the communion
would transform her, that she would be elegant and eye-catching,
like the sapphire brooch pinned on a cream cashmere sweater.

She finds no magic in the morning—the awkward American,
she’s still tripping over the language in clunky shoes
instead of gliding through the city in sleek stilettos.

La douleur exquise

For months, the pain of longing has been blooming beneath my ribs—
this morning it has overtaken me. I slowly swallow despair
and the reality of someone new taking up space in my favorite bed,
even though he says he sleeps better when I’m next to him.

This morning it overtook me. I swallowed my despair—slowly
waiting to dissolve into tears and blood with a single thought:
will he sleep better if someone else is next to him?
I wonder if these last two years he dealt out lies like cards.

I wait for a single thought to dissolve in my tears and blood.
There is always another “if only” to chase like fireflies at dusk—
I turn over tarot cards to see how many lies he dealt me.
Even without fables he told me this time we were not fated.

Every night at dusk I chase “if onlys” like they’re fireflies.
I dream of new lives near the ocean, erasing him from my mind,
I replay him saying “we are not fated,” time is a fable without me—
I could never be the damsel to his white knight, I used to save myself.

My mind creates dreams of the ocean. a new life without him;
I am a selkie saving my sealskin for another lover.
I was never a damsel, but he wanted to be a white knight. I can save myself.
After months of pain, a new longing blooms beneath my ribs—hope.

December 16th, 2011: 7 Stages

Found poem from Allison Mack’s Blog

1. SHOCK & DENIAL
I do not feel well.

2. PAIN & GUILT
overwhelm me—
I can barely breathe.
My body is a hellscape.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING
burning— I am not willing to accept
that I am a human being with limitations.
I do what I have always done: punish myself until I submit.
Then comes the bargaining.

4. “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS
My flesh froths blisters.
I sit in my dark room —a little lost girl.

I’ve rejected myself—
my body, my enemy.
         It’s a woman’s body—betraying my desires.

My body rebels against me, the oppressor.

5. THE UPWARD TURN
I go outside. I feel the air on my skin and the warmth of the sun.
I give my abused body a bath—I soak my sores.

I am coming back to life.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH
At night, I decide everything will change:
I throw away women— size negative zero,
crystallized dreams.

Yes, everything will change.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE
My body, always offering more has carried me:
through China’s foothills, made room for wine and cheese.

Maybe now I can work with her.

Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in 24 Neon Magazine, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Cabinet of Heed, and Marias At Sampaguitas. She is a contributing writer at Pussy Magic. Her work is forthcoming in  Sybil Journal.  Marisa is the founder and EIC of Neon Mariposa Magazine. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @thesweetmaris.

Banner: Petals on a Ground by R. Frede Kenter

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