WE DISSOLVE SEPARATELY
By Kristin George Bagdanov
In the beginning was the word, was the
breath that shaped it, the mouth
that cupped the breath and the body
that made it. I am merely flesh, remaking
myself every seven years. I breathe to escape
my origin, caressing the unseen
with syllable like rings of smoke
that open to dissolve. Trust me, you will
always be alone. We will always be separate in time,
the distance between our bodies in bed
the distance between your death and mine.
We come together at night to pretend
that loneliness is an animal we can cull. But
I watch you sleep, hair splayed across your pillow,
slack mouth breathing for your singular life.
(Today’s poem originally appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal and appears here today with permission from the poet.)
Kristin George Bagdanov is an M.F.A. candidate in poetry at Colorado State University, where she is a Lilly Graduate Fellow. Poems of hers have recently appeared in or are forthcoming from The Los Angeles Review, 32 Poems, CutBank, Redivider, and Rattle. Her chapbook We Are Mostly Water was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012 as part of the New Women’s Voices series.
Editor’s Note: If I had to sum up today’s poem in one word it would be “powerful.” With this piece Kristin George Bagdanov takes on the heavy and the deep; without fear, without apprehension. “Trust me,” she tells us bluntly, “you will / always be alone.” We can love, but “We will always be separate in time, / the distance between our bodies in bed / the distance between your death and mine.” From its biblical entry—as captivating as the origin story it evokes—to its repeated waves of brutal honesty, today’s entry is as well-wrought as the human body in all its striking, singular existence.