Three Poems by Kristina Miggiani

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Altar-ed oath 

March
The muscularity of your siloed silhouette laid itself on my shadowy desk one day,
with white open palm on my tan arm—as if your body was fashioned as pulley
elevating me, with robotic release of self and selflessness, to an outline of us. Now
your hand is a response to my hand; opening or closing instinctively on demand
like a Venus flytrap fluttering in newfound domesticity, tamed, by the soothing squelch
of steadfast soles on oak floor in the am and your tangerine peals of laughter in the pm
—banquet of sound of tip taps of laptops and hip hop on our background box—provoked
me to see beauty even in the day-old residue of your blessed brewed tea. And so,
having unbuckled two habits to tailor them to cohabit, I take your hand and wear it
on my heart (lace sleeve), enduringly and endearingly, with vows as forever fashion.

May

But when fashion is forever and the wearer transient, the fashion is fashioned
into something once inhabited. It’s not forever, but still in time.

You become the fading smell left behind in our silver silk sheets,
the yellow sweat stains on the underarms of your white cotton vest,
the tear in your threadbare socks, farewell tears on your four eyes,
and a belt you fancied around your throat far more than your waist.

I now style myself from the absence of yourself,
as a lone figure of mourning in timeless black—
black lace tights you can’t peel off, a dress that hugs,
and wrinkled knee-high boots that walk your wake.

The ring re-designs itself from occupier of the fourth finger
of your left hand to a platinum pendulum pacifying my neck.

My hands do not grope each other in prayer.
I can’t feel, touch nor see your familiar form.
But I will your physical strength to my mind
as a muscle memory of us and dad walk me down the pews,
through the tearful covid masked hues, to the lilied podium
where – as keeper of your memory, planner of a wedding
that wasn’t and a funeral that was – I say I do (love and let go).

Technificance

Let’s live behind the curtains?
Only out, we go, with the trash
to carton cappuccino Amazon seas
and back to our 600 sq ft of terra firma.
Cool off, take a deep dive
into communal pool of data – navigate the high
seas of the internet and Zoom the borderless –
then mount two screens side-by-side and squint
go(o)ggleyed into new-fangled binoculars.

Geo-block the deck, put on headsets
It’s time to stow the masses
and get metaverse passes.

Don’t peak behind the curtains—
Inside, you stay, to mull their müll.
Mutti says architecture of sky is freed of 80,000 kg flying furniture,
minimalism suits sky best, with stretches of white-on-white, flecks of blue
we no longer imbue our hue into the apertures of the CO2 ceiling,
the horizon is now a flat image and the clouds only exist in Azure,
vitamin D is procured from selfie stars low in light terabyte,
but the sun is yet to set on the trending filters of day.

Best believe. And lungs will feel
the ambition of Paris deal
and rewind to cheerful green.

Draw the curtains.
Shutter the shops.
Ground the sky.
Draft in the supertankers, store the oily glut.
Haul the trucks, stockpile the corporeal guts.
Put on your sea legs, don construction masks,
pause with ease of war fought for headscarf.
Tiananmen, Tahrir, Taksim – our stolperstein
is killer without face, killer of public space,
incubator of net states.

Duckduckgo – we query –
how to inject an economy
of wanton abandon, of institutionalised trust out of stock,
highly leveraged with no herd immunity to herd mentality
that s[t]imulates liquidity by capitalising inequality?

When the upward curve flattens and gets its margin call
the big reveal is the world template built behind the wall.

The long smell

It’s summer and gas leak particles root
to the bottom note of the foggy bottom
and rise from the recesses of the mind,
through the ubiquitous AC and blunt humidity,
the wharf’s salty catch of the day, the mall’s crisp cut green.
It’s the subversive stillness of a seductive summer
sauntering off the sidewalk and sideways to me.

I saved the season’s last inhale for the night I met you.
I was led by the nose to get dressed up that day, in fragrant
white notes, bouquets of black, and morello-stained lips.
A fierce foraging through scraps of unrecycled outfits.

First sight gave hope to second sight.
Of a future no longer dressed with mind,
but undressed by heart; con gusto, bil-qalb.
I exhaled and inhaled, remembering to breathe,
as we became passenger to playful palms that
interlaced the other and took off, thereafter.

Holding hands led in airplane mode for a while—frequently,
then moderately. Exclusively and almost always unapologetically.
To single-handedly block the white noise of external distraction that
saps romantic energy like mental open tabs and paused dating apps.
But we weren’t in low power mode. We were on high frequency.

Senses, of which we have 5, are heightened when one is on standby.
We were in active listening mode to each other’s tender touch.
My skin had sprouted olfactory sensibilities set off by you.
Your smell was a fragrant flashback to something I simply knew.
Your touch was like gaining something never thought lost –
Nostalgia – lived like it’s a verb in the present tense, nostalging.

Love was on the nose, but you couldn’t smell it.
So senses, of which you had 4, became just 3.
Without smell, you lost sight of us and I lost your touch.
Mediterranean Tense is what you began to make of me
because future tense is what I hoped to make of you.

I sniffed for love until past tense is what became of us.

Kristina Miggiani writes: I am a Maltese lawyer and poet, working in the area of financial integrity. I currently work at the IMF and in my free time I ardently journal, write poetry, and practice yoga. I have won some national poetry and story slam competitions, but the process of writing is the best reward. I have been writing poetry since I was 10 years old—as a hobby that helped me find my voice and guiding me to my career as a lawyer.

Image by Unstable.atom – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78183214

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