ashe vernon

1
So, it’s morning. Or maybe afternoon.
There’s light pouring through the window
and it’s got you looking the kind of
haloed and soft you only see in movies.
I’m only half awake but I’m already
writing poetry about your eyelashes,
can you believe that?
 
2
In the mirror, I pretend to watch myself
watching myself brushing my teeth.
Instead, I watch you run your hands
through your hair: again and again and again
and again. More than once, I’ve seen the way
you try to rearrange your body into negative space.
Like one of those optical illusions—
the vase with the two faces.
You forgot you could be both of them. You forgot
that when you lean too close to a work of art
the whole picture blurs and disappears.
 
3
A new painting: one with no negative space.
You as steady hands and solid ground. You
with a ukulele and a dog. Coffee and cayenne.
Cheap wine and expensive whiskey.
All that blue in your closet. You
as the perfect first date and
something soft to come home to.
Bad jokes and good intentions and all that—
light.
 
4
Yes, light. Listen,
so, it’s late. Or the time of night
some people call morning.
It’s dark in the car, but you laugh—
I mean, really laugh. The kind that
catches you by surprise and crinkles up
the corners of your eyes—and it’s like
a camera flash in a windowless room.
It’s the best thing I’ve seen, all day.
 
5
Every morning, the sun has to relearn
how to outshine you. Sometimes
even she is not bright enough.
—  INVENTING NEW WAYS TO CALL YOU BEAUTIFUL by Ashe Vernon
A CONVERSATION WITH MY FATHER’S GHOST
 
  
                               Where is all the woman
                               you were born with?
 
Everywhere.
I’ve been setting it down
in pieces my entire life.
  
                              This is the body your mother and I
                              made for you. Why
                              isn’t it good enough?
 
It is good, but it’s not finished yet.
  
                             Do you wish you’d been born a boy?
 
I wish I’d been born an ocean.
Alive and boundless,
with a name too wild
to fit in man’s mouth.
—  A CONVERSATION WITH MY FATHER’S GHOST by Ashe Vernon
More than anything, I’m grateful
that this new chapter of my life
is completely devoid of you. That you
don’t know anything about my new job, or
the new book I’m writing. That my room
looks nothing like it did the last time
you slept here.
That I’ve washed my sheets half a dozen times
since you touched them.
I’ve bought three new lamps, which means
my life is officially brighter
without you in it.
You
were the worst depressive spell I’ve had in years.
Less than two weeks after you’d gone,
my whole world was back
in color.
—  Ashe Vernon, “Moving On”