Mercifully our life together
Hides what we can’t bear
To see   our everyday depreciations

Until a friend after seeing you says
Jesus man   she’s wasting away
I don’t know what to
Call it other than relief to hear
The clear voice of empirical truth

In my eyes you’re eternally
The girl in the photo on the mantle
From a trip to Morocco   remember
It was our last day
We hadn’t taken a single picture
In a week   we were too consumed
By whatever was inside us

Ripening   and the intrinsic romance
Of the unfamiliar   our plane was leaving
In an hour so we sprinted through the
Crowded streets to the mosque   I can’t
Remember its name   but seen through its
Glass floor the breathless blue Atlantic’s sun
Stippled waves stunned us into
Silence   taken at arm’s length
You can’t see any of it in the picture   nothing
Other than our burnt and glistening faces
Our unbreakable elation.

About the author:
Brian Russell holds an MFA from the University of Houston, where he served as poetry editor of Gulf Coast. His manuscript, Nights under Water, was a finalist for this year’s Miller Williams Prize (University of Arkansas Press) and Cleveland State First Book Prize. The poems included in this issue are from a new manuscript.

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