A farewell adds something to this world. It frees up a room
in your heart of four rooms:
three for them, one for you, one
in which you store small nothings. A farewell adds something:
a celebration dressed in carmine lullabies.
A farewell adds something to this world. It sprinkles on us sawdust.
In the fulness of time, we will seek nothing magical.
We must learn that home is where the front door is.
Every creak is true. Every bent planned.
Every step moves selves closer.
We must learn to carve out the past
and leave imprints
as we hollow.
There lights a scar-show
for whoever enters; faint as murmur,
there happiness can grow rhino-strong
“No half-self remains indifferent,” Marilena Zackheos writes in “Venus de Milo,” and Carmine Lullabies offers a series of vexed, nocturnal berceuse to the partial, chimerical, and mythic selves that inhabit bodies, particularly the bodies of women. By turns worldly and vulnerable, terrified and terrifying, scarified and tattooed, there is no topic—suicide, murder, prostitution, sado-masochism, gender—beyond the pale of Zackheos’s unflinching voice. To paraphrase Emily Dickinson, she deals her pretty words like blades. The intent of these primal lullabies is not to lull us but to awaken us to the truth that, however melancholy and broken we may be, “the remainder is heavy and dense as love.”
– LISA RUSS SPAAR, poet