Lisa Marie Basile

p o e t r y

The house on the shore


is in disrepair, a beast slaughtered of salt and—what else? Love, a kind of. The glasses are in the cupboard, although they’re not listening. They’re pouring for an eternity and in the end all of the water in the world ends up kissing a different beautiful being in another country. There is such thirst it is its language. The curtains are swallowed of light, and the bedroom is an afternoon stretching on forever. If you let it. Let it. You wrote to me, long letters. I read them on the shore. I smelled of kelp and I wore a white cotton dress and knew we were doing something bad neither of us would admit. I drew you into sand and crested room by room, inhabited by this, this, these wordwounds. At night if you press against these the walls you can hear the paint peeling, the remnants of pale waves whose beauty we name in wine at night. There was a table and an ashtray on the balcony, and everyone danced. But they all blew off and away. The sea came into the room and asked me to intuit it, and I have never drawn a clearer breath. I roamed a house of wet towels because some things simply end. I won’t forget the letter, what you said, what great afternoons we held, how the white stucco shown in the light, what this house and these rooms close inside as our desires pass as ships.



A letter


in which we exist in the in-between, by velveteen and air. That we are both the palace and the balcony. My legs—the high dive; you—the nightswim. We are both the water.


This sort of intimacy can be distorted, translated and then retranslated by fear, desire, morality, the bodies we love when we are looking in the right direction. Those loved ones mutilate us; we behave and continue behaving even though the post-script of our bodies sing in tongues. What is the shape of your turning away? What if I am the direction?


Sometimes I wonder: Am I the night with you, or am I the day? You come closer, but you get dirty in the shadow. This intimacy cannot exist without a little death. Maybe that is the problem: I think I am something else, not a wound, or a bloodthing. Not a tulip.


The problem with the night is that everyone is taught to run from it. That it cannot be watered, that it cannot be whole.


I cast a spell for revelation: my hair, your name, your letter. It backfires and you evaporate into the gilded, good-boy, god-thing you seek to be by daytime.


What is your name in the light? What is my debt now that I have loved you?


Let us belie it all. This potency means it will always be morning. It’ll never be night again. What blossoms is that one of us will go to bed hungry, that the dance will eventually end. What sings is my body in the crossfire. The least you can do is say it out loud.


Lisa Marie Basile is the founder of Luna Luna Magazine. She is the author of "Light Magic for Dark Times," and a few poetry collections, including the forthcoming "Nympholepsy." She has written for The New York Times, Narratively, Grimoire Magazine, Sabat Magazine, The Establishment, Atlas Review, YES Poetry and more. Lisa Marie Basile earned an MFA at The New School. @Lisa Marie Basile