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Two Poems by Elvira Basevich | Word Riot

August 15, 2015      

Two Poems by Elvira Basevich

Listen to a reading of “WHY I CAN ONLY LOVE YOU AS YOU ARE NOW” by Elvira Basevich.


Something of you is hanging in the air

in the brightly-painted toy boats drifting along a canal

in the measured clangor of a tramcar

in the moon glimmering like a piece of licked candy.

I am close to how you were then,

my head tucked against your breast.

The sun wept into the rented rooms of Jewish refugees.

Decades yawn between us like the lips

of an open wound, trafficking in the difficult magic

of simply being in the world.

Your body emptied of my life, weary with creation,

returns to me this oyster-grey morning.

I can almost touch you, comfort you,

say something kind to you, but instead dispatch a basket

on an isolated waterway, heavy with the future

and the reflected crowns

of limbless trees, because sometimes abandoned infants

really do return to found a civilization.

Listen to a reading of “THE SHIFTING GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE” by Elvira Basevich.


“There is nothing in the world but two beings naked embraced.”
Octovio Paz

The heart like a dovecot beats with innumerable wings

that disperse in the early evening

but always return to the same perch of arteries

and soft minerals, flying through a half-open door.

To think, a dreamscape possessing

someone like me, who can’t even help looking out

of the window of a moving train.

In the morning, I’ve the memory of a kiss

when our eyelashes touched,

a gentleness lost to the shifting geography of the night.

Perhaps it was in a lobby of a hotel

meant to burn down, or in a bell-jar crowded with reefs,

jellyfish tentacles, and specimens

of dead butterflies; or maybe it was in a general store,

under the sign of a general,

where I bought an old-fashioned candy for a nickel.

With my head against a pillow,

I keep my eyes closed to a hallway with many doors.

I wouldn’t even know which doorbell to ring

to announce myself to you.

DSC_0106About the author:

Elvira Basevich lives in Brooklyn, NY and teaches philosophy at Queens College, CUNY, where, in between lectures on god and the human spirit, she sits in a grey, windowless room and makes idle conversation with Brodsky’s ghost and writes love letters to the Atlantic Ocean.

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