On the sun, I weigh 27 times my earth-weight.
27 is older than I am now, older
than your mother when you were born.
And though my womb has only yielded red,
didn’t you bring me here to nurse you through grief?
Two weeks from now is a year since her death.
Didn’t you take me, even that first time
when I came to you asking,
so you would not mourn alone?
For now, I draw the curtains, fidget with the cushions,
the cuff of my sleeve. Two weeks from now
your arms will be empty of me. I haven’t
told you, but my favorite clothes
are already in my car, where they stiffen,
frigid as the windshield. Can you feel this
slow retreat, extra room in the closet
making space for cold?
I boil water for tea. A cool month of untouching,
we square off across the living room
and I have no idea what words, my mouth
an echo of hands.
On Pluto, I am two sacks of potatoes.
On Neptune, I am almost you.
It has been a long time since we took
each other the way cold air takes heat
from the radiator.
The kettle is screaming, the room terribly dim.
On the moon, I weigh less
than the grocery bag your mother could not carry,
pregnant with you, down the front steps, your father
slinging it over his good shoulder, dreaming
he would have a son soon, and here you are,
sonless. You, too, could do this to me.
Take me, whole into your mouth, still
I will leave you: almost myself on Venus
but not quite—
I started writing “For Now” in 2012. Going through a breakup, I was thinking a lot about gradual disconnections. Connections can be unstable. I revised this poem frequently in an attempt to understand those shifts. In one revision, planets appeared. Considering my human self on a galactic scale—off of the earth, far away from this person I was disconnecting from in the poem, fit with the dissonance of un-learning that closeness, that person.
From the Poetry Editors
Through her crafty language, Besl delivers a timeless concept: the power of connections made and connections lost in her poem “For Now.” She captures the idea of physical weight on various planets versus metaphorical weight between two people. At the same time, she demonstrates this concept of space and absence with the juxtaposition of warmth and cold: “It has been a long time since we took each other the way cold air takes heat from the radiator.”