The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Thursday and Sleepy Hollow History


The Little Number
By Valerie Martinez


       A cell, in Beijing Prison #1, reserved for political prisoners.
       Only as large as a cardboard box, its light is never turned off.


How I dream, it opens:
            I have the bruised legs of that girl
                        with baskets, soft peaches
for my mouth. She never sits,
            Her hair keeps falling, sticking
                        to her white teeth.

Awake, with the bulb one and one.
            Get one breath out, one in,
                        before the room closes.
View of my limbs over and over. No thing
            comes back, no remember
                        inside the little number.
It's my own voice, closes, with the light
            on and on. I haven't spoken.
                        Write the walls
with my eyes. Press the walls out.
            Logic of wall with their numerics,
                        angles, borders--

Forest: it's the soul of the girl
            feeding me. It's the soul
                        of the girl in my mouth.
I'm not myself, too close.
            It's another man's knees pulled up,
                     sores on the bones, sitting.
His spine with its islands of dark bruises.
            I swallow it.
                        He confesses anything.

--------

Martinez's most recent book is World to World.

My Wednesday was not a lot more exciting than my Tuesday. At lunchtime I ran out to Kohl's because I had $10 in Kohl's bucks that had to be used by the end of the week and I knew I wouldn't get there Thursday or Friday; it was astonishingly crowded for a weekday late morning, but I had a nice conversation with a great-grandmother while in line to pay for my $9 shirt and super-glittery multicolor rhinestone watch (yes of course I needed it and anyway with the Kohl's bucks it was practically free). Then I got home and discovered that I had somehow cracked my wedding ring -- I didn't even know gold could snap like that, though it's been resized twice so at this point I have no idea what's been done to the metal. I really hope I can get it fixed and returned before we go to Boston, but there's no way I'd risk wearing it without getting it repaired.

In the afternoon I folded laundry while watching Julie and Julia, which I figured I would enjoy despite the fact that I hate to cook and never in a million years would I boil a live lobster or bone a duck. I really enjoyed Meryl Streep's performance as Julia Child, though I don't always love Streep; I really found Julie Powell self-centered, pretentious, and all the things her husband called her before they reconciled, though I usually do love Amy Adams. It was a diverting way to spend a couple of hours while doing chores but I wasn't sorry I missed it in the movie theater. For dinner Paul made spicy Ethiopian red lentil stew (I'd requested more beans and lentils, since my doctor told me I need to get more iron in my diet and apparently even spinach is iffy). And I watched the delightful Cameron/Clegg press conference and read five different articles analyzing their bromance -- even better than erstwhile Kerry/Edwards.


This is Union Church of Pocantico Hills, built by the Rockefellers as a non-denominational house of worship near their Kykuit estate. The large window was designed by Marc Chagall in honor of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.


Chagall also designed the eight windows in the nave of the church to memorialize Michael Rockefeller, who died young in a boating accident, as well as other members of the Rockefeller family.


The rose window was designed by Henri Matisse -- his last work completed before his death -- in tribute to Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, a founder of the Museum of Modern Art.


This is the mill complex of Philipsburg Manor, built by an Anglo-Dutch family who owned dozens of African slaves to work the gristmill, care for the animals, pilot the boats, and manage the farming -- one of the largest slave communities in the northern colonies.


Here is another view of the bridge that crosses the stream in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.


The Old Dutch burial ground there is one of the oldest cemeteries in America.


Some of the stones are overgrown and difficult to read...


...while this one has a tree that grew up and died around it, obscuring the names and dates.
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