Litanies of Wonder
poetry by Michelle DeLouise-Ashmore
Litanies of Wonder
I am filled with this desire to expose my body to that light. A compulsion to wake it, despite this loneliness & that cold & the quiet ache in the backs of my knees. I’m sure that today it will storm, suddenly & unexpectedly & we will be caught off guard by this return to rain & wind. We will think of the sun, just yesterday peeking out from behind the cover of cloud. We will think of the sun & will find ourselves bodies in constant search of the warmth of the sun. Someone asks me if I know the difference between love & tenderness, between that ache & this loneliness. I am not sure if I do.
Last night the rain took me, trembling & unceasingly delicate. It rains so often these days, a violent storm always moving in & out. I want to jar the tenderness of loving my sorrows with that rain& this makes no sense, I know. I know. But look, here is my mother's empty seat, the blank embrace we exchange when one of us finds the courage to call. I am trying to remember the last time I saw that light rounding out the corner of my mother's laugh, but I couldn't tell you. I couldn't tell.
I have written this poem before. This litany of wondering where my father is now & wondering if he remembers my name. He used to braid the tangled mess of my curls so gently, careful not to touch the bruises on the sides of my face, & I loved him for his tenderness. I have forgotten his name, his voice – only his hands are stuck with me now. Hands quietly braiding plumeria into my hair.
Michelle DeLouise-Ashmore is an undergraduate student at Hendrix College, studying English – Creative Writing. She can often be found tripping over her own feet and spilling coffee on everything she owns. She is currently working on finding her footing in the world of literature. She is the Poetry Editor for the Aonian, a student run literary magazine. Her work can be found in Rookie Mag, Rising Phoenix Review, The Olive Press, Red Flag Poetry, Clementine Unbound, and Hawai'i Review.