Words Across the Lifting Fog

Words Across the Lifting Fog

a poem by Iris Orpi


I could have told you loneliness

sticks to the spirit like craft glitter on sweat

from a cheap crazy party you once went to

so you could forget whatever merits forgetting

and fill yourself up with loud things

you would remember for years to come.

Blaring music and confetti and damp, smoky

air the smell of drunken kisses wafting

towards you out of nowhere as you cut

across a field of elk pasture the most clichéd

shade of green and silence as complete

as your sense of self used to be

draped over the mid-morning sky.

Instead we looked off the distance

in the same direction and I talked about

shaping the future, motioning with my hands

like I still believed the future was clay-like

and my hands were masterful, betraying

no trace of the knowledge that everything

beyond here and now is more like forged steel,

cold and unforgiving and only tarnished

in places, just so you and I could get excited

about the light that reflects off it and projects

onto our jaded vision bright portents,

so we could mimic the excitement we had

too much of when we were children. No mention

of loneliness and what it does to the clichéd

green of the pasture and why the fog bears

an uncanny resemblance to it. But maybe

you caught it anyway, the strained reaching

for home, for an old abandoned dream,

for surfaces of things that have faded

from diligent dusting, for the act of dusting,

for the dust that have finally settled and

claimed what used to be well loved and

cared for, beyond my sight. In the timbre

of my voice, maybe, a tad confident

and crafted for an audience, or the parts of

the narrative that felt deliberately omitted

to avoid clutter, to improve clarity. So you

could see me better. But the dust I don’t

point to is part of the picture. It is hardest

to wipe off around the edges. And that’s

how you know it’s authentic.

Photo source: the author

Photo source: the author

About the author:

Iris Orpi is a Filipina writer currently living in Chicago with her husband and son. Her alter ego is a university mathematics instructor who likes to incorporate CSI episodes and milkshake recipes in trigonometry and calculus problems. Drawing a hyperbolic paraboloid on chalkboard remains one of my greatest personal achievements. She has watched Memoirs of a Geisha at least 50 times. One of her life missions is to own all the books in Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series. Some of her greatest loves include flip-flops, recycling, pho with lots of Sriracha, 1960’s jazz, algebraic number theory, the ocean, and the color olive green. She prefers her coffee a la breve but occasionally [will] order dark mocha when she wants to be fancy. She is broke but [intend’s] to travel the world someday.

To learn more about the author, please visit sheisiris.wordpress.com. To purchase any of her published works, please click here.

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