Saturday, 10 December 2022


The Undoing

by Millicent Borges Accardi

There is impersonalness
to our touch, working backwards
from intimacy into being
mis-associated strangers,
what activities not to do any more:
touching cold feet in bed
or putting a washcloth to my face.
Are these acceptable gestures
now that we are rewinding into
the opposite of lovers.
We have tried to face the wall
inside the tunnel that is where
we used to travel through on our
way to being together, and we have pressed
in a non-onward direction,
like switching from left to right,
forced to hold the wrong hand,
to relearn how not to. How not to throw
and catch awkwardly. How to face
with the other shoulder, how to bend
the wrong way into a triangle,
into a new limiting direction
that keeps you trapped and strangled
and lost. Everything from scratch
transforming into a scar,
the places when you used to know
things by heart. Time is putting on
your right shoe and steadying
yourself on the left, jumping
around to keep a sort of balance
in an irregular circular way
--as if you are fooling yourself safe,
back on the ground and can protect
the country from falling, becoming
a universal key positioned into
the lock of how new life has become
unremarkable, disappeared and a lot more ugly.

* * * * *

"The Undoing" is from Millicent Borges Accardi's poetry collection Quarantine Highway (FlowerSong Press, 2022).

Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American writer has four poetry collections including Only More So (Salmon Poetry Ireland). Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, CantoMundo, Fulbright, Foundation for Contemporary Arts NYC (Covid grant), Creative Capacity, Fundação Luso-Americana, and Barbara Deming Foundation, “Money for Women.” She holds degrees in writing from CSULB and USC and currently lives in the hippie-arts community of Topanga, CA where she curates Kale Soup for the Soul and co-curates the Poets & Writers sponsored Loose Lips poetry readings.  

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