C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

Last Rites

By: Valerie Little


Timor mortis conturbat me But,

we’ll be forever this age 37 and

42

now that we’ve had the last

smile     word

                   laugh     embrace

                             kiss     ravish

                                         midnight     morning

I still synthesize you into my

cityscape matins

headphones on before dawn

block early morning noise draw

attention inward

for eye has not seen ear

has not heard

save my eyes so I can recognize you are looking for me save

my ears so I can hear my name in your heart

some city           some street       some day

Honey lips part without sin, act as final anointing

saving us and our body breaks

as viaticum for another book of life endured

apart, like before, like next lifetime.

Yet on the floor of my room

I paper over those who caution me and

whisper my intercessions-

as it was in the beginning

is not now and never shall be-

I want you                        midnight            morning

on summer’s sunlit grass at the

top of Mount Rainier

in the coastal forests of Canada.

You are the unfathomable burn of exploding stars

Callisto              Enceladus           Titania             Triton                  Charon

Quiet cadence of urban darkness

Liminal visions of the sea floor.

Lux aeterna luceat nobis.

"When I wrote this piece, my first love and I briefly rekindled our relationship after fourteen years of no contact. The explosive power and complicated beauty of that experience was both heartbreaking and healing. We often discussed about our emotional and physical bond through images and words from the natural and spiritual world. I tried to capture some of that here, but from the end of the relationship looking back."


Valerie studied creative writing and music at Pennsylvania State University. She has been published in Kalliope, Apertures, Naming Hope, Sheila-Na-Gig, and in an upcoming 2019 poetry anthology by Duck Lake Books. Professionally, she is a violist and orchestra librarian with the Minnesota Orchestra.

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