Deborah Wardlaw Pattillo


The corpse moves; it does not breathe.
Blood in cipher-shunts across the forehead,
the bruised moons of one most devoted.

And still the Attic shape of her limbs,
the posthumous postulate,
the nearing crowd,
and all the busy rumors of affection:

Gorse-wear and cotton and cere;
and the lids shut and the lips
that must have burned there:
body: belly: sacrament

a return to the Heaven-way of doing things
a wineskin, a ration
the body and its fumbling passion:
divorce: oracle: divination

Open up your arm,
and here are all the roses (within)
the proboscis damaged, the proscenium
unveiled and spent

and there: the orchid chorus
vents the conscious,
purges     the intellect

The heart! O choral ancestry!
O numinous forestry that did us in!

O ornament, Orient, origins!
O blindside; O anatomy!
O tellurian love and cycle of rabbits!

O slow-bone maturation,
O marrow fallow in its hulls,
O baron territory of seagulls,
O Duchy-of-the-Portrait-on-the-Wall:

And never more was such
a scarlet crush created
a bruise, a kiss
a flush reminder, fresh remainder:

lush, hunt
hearth and flesh:
wish     French     splint:

Etymology: dregs in the empty wineskin of her body



I should not have picked it up;
I should have left it there,
couched in woodbine coverture, as it were.

I say I should have left it there:
the cellophane, the assignment,
the alignment with the sky,

the moth's ubiquitous entry point
lit by the sky, & the viscous heaven
a rictus speaking through tonight.

The bark, the coverture,
the aperture of alignment—the finest
skull, fractured natty & blasphemous,

bastard-fume of person & reason, privacy
& ligament, that clear plastic faction
of moat & flange & tarnished & grange—

awash at the end of the enamel sill,
caught in the wash of the doorway,
the circumstance sought, or caught

in the metal snaps such as those
you might miss with rainwater
& trembling—          Ahh!

Trembling from rust & fumble-bones,
rust in the synthetic furrows, the animal,
chemical scent of bread & authenticity—

& the woodland enormous from glut
& literal death & tumescence;
Burdens, too, have a half-life,

a rise, a life, criminal
in its instant, in its intent,
visceral in its negligence,

courteous as a corpse wrapped in clingfilm,
vulgar as a girl who has everything.



The "roses (within)" in the first "Undiary" are the children's game where pink "roses" are pinched into pale skin. There is the presence of the female lead in Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" as well as an only slightly altered line in italics from Donna Tartt's novel, The Secret History.

The second "Undiary" contains an italicized line from Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing and therefore is for Beatrice. Later, it seems the poem is devoted to the character Laura Palmer from TV's Twin Peaks, or perhaps it is about Paris Hilton.