for Marthe Reed

for Marthe Reed

The world is shallow
without friends.
The pool is deep
without water.
A peacock calls out
through the pikake
for a lover, unanswered.
I lost my childhood
to Death
I lost my first book
in a meadow, unseen.
I hold the knife
against the wide neck
of an heirloom tomato.
Gush with its flesh.
“Tomorrow” might as well
be a religion,
its cosmic hope circling
the marrow.

I just watched my first Facebook memorial service. It seems fitting, to have listened with equal amounts of presence and distance because Marthe Reed and I had a digital, yet profound, relationship.

The day after my daughter was born, I received an email from Marthe about a manuscript I sent to Black Radish Books. Anyjar, was accepted by the press, and Marthe, being the editor, was sending me the good news. I was so grateful to have the manuscript accepted. She took such wonderful care of the poems, which was evident during the many rounds of notes during the editing process. She gave me freedom, but also helped me ask the important questions that made working on the book feel like lifeblood at a time when mothering an infant was depleting. I’m not sure if Marthe knew this, but I needed that book to help me still feel like me.

Marthe passed away just days after my son was born. It’s strange to think of our relationship as bookended by my children’s births. I’m not sure what to make of that yet. There has been so much loss in these last 6 months. The last message I got from Marthe was an emphatic congratulations for my growing family, a reminder that there must always be joy. As an activist who fought ferociously on and off the page, Marthe embodied that sentiment. Her Facebook feed offered us fists and pies, words and flowers. I am grateful and lucky to have been witness.

I’ll miss her. I wish I could have met her and given her a hug. Had her meet my children. Here is an excerpt from her post*cards that I just love. I cannot wait for her forthcoming book.

all possible


      become a woman


folded, felted