On Writing: A Pantoum by Maggie Swofford

Ejecting love through darkest inks
is a turning, an aim
to match the missing
pieces left behind to the whole.

Some aim to turn
memories into skin, skewering the
pieces left behind. Around the hole,
gravity pulls each particle to

my memories, skewering my skin to
pages—anyone’s thumbs would numb as
each particle pulls gravity.
Holding the light white canvas of

pages (my thumbs numb as
I heave into empty space), I hope
the light white canvas will hold his hands,
mirror his younger face.

Empty spaces heave me into empty spaces. I hope
he will stay alive longer if he
mirrors my youngest face,
bright as fog, blooming as frost.

Will, stay alive longer,
I whisper now. I write him:
bright, bloomed, fogged, frosted.
I wish I had never known

his whispers. Now, writing
makes his death come quicker,
because I will never know his wishes,
even as my pen collects evaporating stars.

I make death come quickly.
He matches and misses
collected stars. I evaporate,
ejecting our darkest loves into ink.

Maggie Swofford is a queer poet who loves outer space, fashion, and Georgia O’Keeffe’s watercolors. She reads and writes poetry that explores reality via unique imagistic language and metaphors. Maggie also works for a publishing company in Boston, MA.


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