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Washed in the Blood


I would call you a wing,
but you might disappear into thin air,
when I am not ready, or cannot
say anything down to earth.

…………. Already you are twirling
…………. long dark hair behind your ear
…………. around your right index finger, looking
…………. outdoors at nothing in particular.


Thinking too much
where it starts and
where it finishes,
what it is for, or not,

When it is all in the moves,
what shakes, gets down
and dirty, but maybe
washed in the blood.

Can this really be bred in the bone,
what we put up with, taking
what is not ours, hands down
especially when no one is looking,

and what we do, or not, as though
we can’t bear it, the cut we want to make,
even of our own, leaving someone
else to stitch it all back together?

Small things must be at work here
inside, hidden, insensible
slow secret mouths whispering
the end of structure, unbalancing.

You once said you would die for the chance to,
then later said it was not that good;
one should know better
than to ask for more than others.

…………. A red bird flies from a lower branch.
…………. You turn and say the storm has torn
…………. all the ivy from the oak.



Senechal de la Roche copy 4 Roberta Senechal de la Roche is an historian, sociologist, and poet of Micmac and French-Canadian descent, and was born in western Maine. She now lives in the woods outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Her poems have appeared in the Colorado Review; Glass: A Journal of Poetry; Yemasseeand Cold Mountain Review, among others. She has two prize-winning chapbooks: Blind Flowers (Arcadia Press) and After Eden (Heartland Review Press, 2019).  A third chapbook, Winter Light, and her first book, Going Fast (2019) are published by David Robert Books.

This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 17:2. To view other content published in this issue, look here.

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