Claudia Serea

When I’m Gone, I’ll Come Back as a Window; You Won’t Know This Love; Love in the Arctic: Claudia Serea

When I’m gone, I’ll come back as a window

Shaped from sand and fire,
I’ll be your new kitchen window,
letting in light
over your soapy hands
washing the plates.
And you won’t know it’s me.

At night, I’ll watch the moonlight
fall in love with the faucet.

I’ll listen to the mice in their corners
and to the house creaks, full of thoughts,

and to your sighs upstairs
when you lie awake in your bed.

Outside, the wind will move the rhododendron,
and I’ll rattle
when a branch pokes me
with an accusing finger.

And you won’t know it’s me,
but I’ll still be your Mom,

shield you from rain
and give your face
the perfect frame.

I’ll gather sunset in my panes
and throw a ray into your hair

when you’re done with the dishes
and lean close to me
to check out the street.

You won’t know this love

You won’t know this love
until you’ll have your own child.

You’ll know each mole,
each constellation
on her skin,

each cry,
each laugh,
each little toe.

You’ll recognize her skin scent,
and crave it at night.

You’ll feel the need to touch,
to lick,
to rock,

to carry
your little monkey
on your back.

The urge of milk,
eyes closed.

You won’t know this love
until you’ll feel your rib
missing her rib,

the ocean of your blood
seeking her ship.

Love in the Arctic

Let the frost bake
and decorate
huge wedding cakes
from the city fountains.

Let the wind rattle the windows
and the red cedar,
a polar bear in heat,
scratch against the house.

Under the white covers,
it’s warm.

We’re all limbs,
and skin,

and I’m thinking of the Arctic whales,
sea lions,
and seals
in their lairs,

making babies.

Claudia Serea’s poems and translations have been published in Field, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, The Malahat Review, Oxford Poetry, and elsewhere. She is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Twoxism, a collaboration with visual artist Maria Haro (8th House Publishing, 2018). Serea received the 2013 New Letters Readers Award, the Levure Littéraire 2014 Performance Award, and several honorable mentions for poems and chapbooks. Her poems have been translated in French, Italian, Arabic, and Farsi, and have been featured in The Writer’s Almanac. She is a founding editor of National Translation Month, and she co-hosts The Williams Poetry Readings.