Aubade: Again

Darling, all night
I have been flickering, off, on, off, on.
—Sylvia Plath

Good morning friend      faithful one
still here with me

Last night you came to visit
                                               once more
and through the wakened and wakening hours

                      wouldn’t stop whispering
                      and here you are

           or you never left    so
           insistent on loyalty    proximity

something of a stalker really

all pressure and persuasiveness
            circling me like oxygen

pain as prickly pear       bee sting

                                               jagged claw
            Go now

Shall I drive you out
with persuasion or pitchfork
                                               or the chemical cross

my comrade   my alien   my imp

or embrace you    decode your
secret message
           from an unwanted future

Make friends with your pain the specialist says

We are stepping up the meds   graduating
to the opioids    moving up the scale
and even now you
                        shout my name in the night

They keep asking me to give you
a number
these inconstant doctors and nurses

Which smiley/frowny face are you today

when you and I are always
making our acquaintance        and yet

it feels as though you’ve been here
                         forever     waiting
for me to never sleep never wake

           as thorn   as quiver   as charred desire

You must be the color of
deep autumn   shocking red   flared
burnt at the edges

            No     that’s a cooling season
                       and you prefer heat

I lay down beside you
enfold myself    within fluttering sheets
as you   climb inside me
light small fires
                                    or are you
                                    trying to climb out

you    August
melting the asphalt
on the street where I grew up

sunlight glinting off
MacArthur Bridge    my feet burning
on the iron railing
                                             I dive





CPearson1Candace Pearson won the Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry for Hour of Unfolding. Recent publications include Cider Press Review, Spillway, Diode, and Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond.

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