Issue 3poetry

Vanitas

selective color photography of orange tulip

Jared Beloff

Stare hard enough and still edges will follow
the lines of your eyes as you move away,
a burst of color revealing absence in silhouette:
my grandfather’s watch, tulip stalks candle thin
already loosening their skirts, glass luminous
as a lit wick, shadows rimming a skull’s sockets.

Tonight, my daughter sleeps still enough––
I hesitate to check her breath, eyes adjusting
to the darkness until her teeth scrape and rasp
against the quiet, a slow churn beneath muscles’ roil.
Stare hard enough and you might see the stitches
where softer pieces have knit together in black
hollows where life once peered back.

Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters. You can find his work in Contrary Magazine, The Westchester Review, Gyroscope Review and others. You can find him online at www.jaredbeloff.com. Follow him on twitter @read_instead.