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Kathryn Bratt-Pfotenhauer

“There are questions

we refuse to ask or answer.”

- Tarfia Faizullah

All year, I have listened to the absent 

music of your hands. I have listened

to the glacial promenade of icebergs

melting. I have listened both for the love 

of you and love of the earth you love. 

I kept track of the blues for no reason

other than you were under the same sky.

I could call you and tell you to look,

look outside: that is me loving you.

The moon, gibbous; a beguiling: 

that is me loving you. You, you. All my metaphors

in service of you, my body’s metronome

ticking in time to your voice, my favorite

song. Light diffracts through my bedroom 

window differently now. How austere 

the headboard is, splintering into my neck.


All this to say, I have stood at the edge 

of desire and felt your retreat. 

In all my tongues,

I have no word for this.


Kathryn Bratt-Pfotenhauer is a poet from Maryland. Their work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Grist, Memorious, The Roanoke Review, Glass, and L’Éphémère Review. They were a poetry semifinalist for the 2017 St. Lawrence Book Award and the 2019 and 2020 recipient of the Bryn Mawr Bain-Swiggett Poetry Prize.

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