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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Warmth; For my friend Elizabeth, who doesn’t live here anymore

By: Shane Veno


When I piled about me 16 feet of dirty laundry

Landry and your train ticket stubs

Please don’t misunderstand my intentions


she went to Tucson

The short haired desert shrew has no idea what winter will bring

Please don’t misunderstand my intentions

If he and I

both now

Could have known that

this time

Central light would cross the frost bracket

We wouldn’t have bothered feeding kin to kin.

I hoarded you

But we’re in the air

and I am having great difficulty divination

Where it is I am to burrow

If I had gone to Tucson

he and I

both now

Wouldn’t have bothered with all the burrowing

But alone again this time I haven’t bothered feeding

Alone again this time I haven’t haven’t haven’t can’t


For my friend Elizabeth, who doesn’t live here anymore

Don’t visit at that lake of ennui,

saltless, shallow

Fit to drown but not to swim

Can I visit with you there?

vast, empty

Will you hold my hand through this?

Old Father Murphy, with his handkerchief of white, sepulcher of white

the lesion that was hers

the arrhythmia and unfortunate melody

You know.

You have stridden across the depths, are you smiling? Is it exquisite?

I cannot thole the thought.

Oh Ghede Nibo, draping black coat, violence of the mind

I’m ok, what’s your problem?

Long ears and my time-lapse memory, it was always more in the enfleshment than the flesh

Saint Friend, you’ve dropped us

Saint Friend, the noise won’t relent

Saint Friend, I cannot carry my body

I cannot thole the thought Saint Friend

Violet flowers, blue gown

Iron, unavoidable, dearest you


Shane Veno lives in Philadelphia, Pa. He has self-published several chapbooks and currently edits a zine collecting writing and art about Dysautonomia and EDS.

“The poem ("For my friend…") was written three months after my closest friend Elizabeth hung herself in her bedroom at home earlier this year. She didn’t die, not all the way, until a few months later, and I wrote the poem for her mother. Seong flew across the country to see me, and was searching, so frantically searching, but I had nothing to offer her. So I wrote her all of the emotions gathered around her daughter’s death, all of the guilt and shame and possible hopes and hoped it would be worth something to her.

If you’re familiar with Carl Adamshick’s work you'll recognize the references; one of my loveliest memories with her is passing a copy of Saint Friend back and forth over a table in West Yorkshire in the snow. Trading drags from poorly rolled cigarettes for strophes of wonderful verse, I can’t say how much I miss her.”


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