My Own Purgatory

After the azure thrumming sky, veined with the bare reaches of birches, is shipwrecked in jet—horizon frozen in the orange city-light as in an ampule of amber—I plummet blind into the autumn night: its screaming lexicon of black skies, gales, dead leaves scuttling behind me on the sidewalk. The unshrouding of stars and other mechanisms of grace, lamplight in a third floor window. I throw a pebble, run the whole way home. I remember the anthology of curves and angles, moonlit and studied, until coffee cup stains on ceramic tiles, cutting boards dried with the seeds of tomatoes, remind me. The night’s disdain through the bedroom window, sitting up in bed next to a dreaming husband. The impulse to go out, to explore, to find a balm for an injury I’m unable to name. A curled brown leaf tracked onto the bedroom floor. I build my own purgatory.

Tamara Burross Grisanti lives in Buffalo, NY. Her poetry and fiction appear in New World Writing, and she is the associate editor of ELJ.

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