Rachel J. Bennett


for L


Even in extremis, note blue sky, branches,
the cumulus safe, afloat. Even besieged,

breathe lemon verbena, how the prepositions
blur: with/without, inside/outside, through/

through. Through lemon verbena, we
arrived. Beyond lemon verbena, you & me. 

You/me. Little fish, how I stood for days
under water. How the sea swept the kitchen 

floor. Me/you. Remember? The door closed
between us, our own red door. The door fell

off its hinges to join the other myths, the others
I also called myself—red string & cotton boll 

& red seeds, rabbit charm & cloud charm, blue
coin. Even when almost sunk & split, nearly 

drowned & strung up & banished. The smell
of lemon verbena, remember? I breathed & 

you breathed & we slept in the torrent
like coins at the bottom of a well. I wished 

& never stop wishing & this is how I began
rebuilding on the old site. Remembering for 

both of us: you were inside & you were
outside & I was with & I was without & 

I was with. Before that, my blood was
in your hair. I like to think when the damp cloth 

met your forehead, it reminded you of home.



Rachel J. Bennett is the author of On Rand McNally’s World and Game, both from dancing girl press. Her poems have appeared in journals including Gigantic Sequins, LEVELER, Sixth Finch, BOAAT, Salt Hill, Bodega, and Vinyl. She grew up on the Illinois-Iowa border and the sound of trains, and now lives in New York City. Find her at www.racheljbennett.net