in place of an answer – a poem by Whitney Rio-Ross

in place of an answer

after Cy Twombly


he asked me what i meant 
by god, as if some wisp
of my soul could carry
his abandon, solid enough 
to shoulder a self.

if i stay still for long
i can watch my colors lose
themselves to the gaps between
my footprints. i ask for
a darker shade, some form
of permanence, but am sent 
smeared fingers to stretch 
my frame without 
asking for directions.

understanding is the greatest 
pretense we’ve found 
for erasure. our eyes
are too weak to watch it
disappear, arms too small
to wrestle a blessing.  

i want to carry him 
an outline to hold, say 
this body is given for you,
broken, open to embrace.

Whitney Rio-Ross is the author of the chapbook Birthmarks (Wipf & Stock) and poetry editor of Fare Forward. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming in New South, America Magazine, So to Speak, Rock & Sling, The Windhover, 3Elements Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Nashville, TN, with her husband and practically perfect pup.

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