:: Article

Three Poems

By Emma Bartholomew.

Heidegger’s Love Affair with Being

i. Meeting.

She was shopping for oranges.
I was holding bread.
I nearly dropped it,
the lightweight loaf
no longer forefront.

I watched her trace rings on
the waxy rind, waiting
for the man with the scales
to tell her their worth.
I knew her then.


ii. Recognition.

The first time she sees me,
we are crossing a busy intersection
in opposite directions,
and our heads swing like magnets

as we pass each other.
I am worried I am dreaming
or that she recognizes
someone over my shoulder

but it is inescapable.
I rewind to that street corner
to witness
my life changing.


iii. Bibliography.

I study people’s bookshelves
the way others snoop through
medicine cabinets.
Hers is a library.

The specific spines I
will see in mind for days,
a color-pattern memorized

in order, size, hue.
I take the blue book from

her bedside, read while she sleeps.


iv. Explanation.

I am in love with her and
I want her to explain it to me.
If she cannot,
I will take her to a scientist, and ask:
measure the love in her bones,
the peace in her heart.
I need a sample to keep.

But Science will exhaust us both.

Instead, I study sunlight
mapping mountains across
these rumpled sheets.
The air refolds around her
as she breathes,
every exhalation
a little death.


v. Past-Present

I reach for her hand, track
its orbit across the table,
the half-moons of her nails.
All the faces she has touched are
caught in the ridges of her fingertips.
Every man is a fossil in her figured past
but she sheds skins faster than springtime.


vi. Ethereal

I want to burn all the pictures.
They don’t capture the woman I know.

There is a space in between her ribs
when she lies and settles on one side.

I know her heart expands by the day.
I know her love is greater than this.

Some peaceful resignation floods me.
I cannot explain in words, except:

Martin, she is not yours. Let her go
live the immensity of her life.


vii. Now After

She was never fully gone.
She was never really here.

She is always, never gone
and is still.



I have snagged a thread and it unravels,
taking with it the form of wool, the use
of the garment, the old perfection of its seams.
The sweater is no longer. I’ve worn it threadbare,
nights and months on end, until the pockets
rip and all my dreams fall out, cascade
onto the sidewalk. I leave them there and walk away,
ashamed to collect the mismatched pairs,
stooping over failures and markedly disparate
shares. My present has been unfairly used.
I trail the thread behind me, centuries long.
It all unravels.


Untitled (But Mostly At Sea)

I have a secret, I say.
The boat’s hull tips with the weight
and release of each step’s next shift.
As he turns, I catch it: the tell-tale
lift, brow raised sky-ward,
arms stretched,
slackening sails.

I have a secret, I mention.
Does it go well with a packed lunch?
No, I confess, salt would be better.

I have a secret. I try to tell him.
He whispers back to the window,
an icy pane that keeps his breath
like misted shroud
on distant mountains.

He asks about the rate of waves,
why water laps at port and prow,
what patterned tide our wake will drop.
The water’s darkening, he says.
I have a secret. It ebbs. Keeps.


Emma Bartholomew was born in London, England, but has grown up on both sides of the pond. After getting her B.A. in English and Philosophy from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, she completed an M.S.c. in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Emma is currently living in Savannah, GA, but will return to Edinburgh in 2011 to begin work on her PhD, focusing on poetry and cartography.

She has been published in various literary magazines in the UK and USA (Muscle and Blood, Muses), and her first chapbook will be released by Forest Publications, Edinburgh, in the spring of 2011. Her website will be online soon. When she is not writing, Emma teaches poetry to middle school students and accrues extensive late fees from a plethora of libraries.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, November 5th, 2010.