Self Portrait, With Decay by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

With moss, with the deer who stood against
the twilight in a Vermont road,
with white-capped dawns pushed
by terror, with an oval face
tilted on a pillow of childhood,
with blood pouring from her nose & mouth,
with her wedding dress, with bare feet,
with marquees announcing the end
of a woman,
with the man who could not tell the truth,
with sand dollars on a sill, with hip-stalk
& lipstick, with house party &
repast, with a bank of snow,
with sorrow & cinnamon,

with a mule being led
to the old river, with soft eyes
for her mother & father,
with a venomous apple of mistakes,
with tears & sighs in sunlight,
with a wagging stray at her heels,
with her shovel & harmonica,

with a kingdom given
away, with her two-step & moonwalk,
with hot hands on her waist,
with the laughter of her brothers & sister,
with lots of butter & salted caramel,
with the elegy of her own
laughter, with paint & seashells,
with her captive harp
of memory,

with flies hurrying after
her carcass of shame,
with the man who rubbed her
mind with hope, with bruises
of light inflicted
by imagination, with letters
& dusty diaries, a skin

by flaws & ecstasy,
with her brindled fluke
that crashed into the joy
of an undiminished



Contributor Notes

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and visual artist. Her fourth collection of poetry, Lighting the Shadow, will be published by Four Way Books in 2015. Griffiths teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn.