Life Mask, John Keats · Eileen Cleary

You posed as a temporary walrus
breathing through straws. The plaster
making your lips heavy, four
years before your lungs’ cave
opened to swallow you. As for now,
this image becomes you. I want to graft
your face to mine on purpose, cell
to cell. This gesture, not arbitrary
like suffering. But intimacy I can achieve.


Eileen Cleary earned MFA's at Lesley University and Solstice. She’s a Pushcart nominee and has published in Naugatuck River Review, J Journal, The American Journal of Poetry and Main Street Rag. Child Ward of the Commonwealth is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press in Spring 2019.