FOR FANNY LINDON, WHO WAS ONCE ENGAGED TO JOHN KEATS
You would be forgiven for thinking you can see her eyes among the stars on clear nights or a flash of her petticoats in the butterflies that circle lazily on hot July mornings. Poets break off small pieces of the things they love most and hide them, so we are constantly surrounded by almost- women.
It is cruel that you will have missed her – sitting like an elderly queen and fingering the lace on her sleeves as she thinks about death and her children. A row of scrapbooks look on as she cradles his miniature, a lifetime of beauty collected and saved to counterbalance one small vacuum of grief.
You would be forgiven, begrudgingly, for seeing shades of her in the myths about sirens, who drained great minds with pleasure, or in your own well when the ink runs dry. It takes a strong observer to see her as she embroiders tiny stitches by gas light, and we are constantly surrounded by weak men.
Are you wondering how one person can hold two loves, white-flame passion dancing with tender,
second-chance warmth? Poets are in the habit of professing small truths with confidence,
but she will be the first to plead ignorance. If you can make her out in the dark, catch
her burning smile in your open palm. Singed. Sometimes it is good not to know.
Hannah Landsberger lives Washington, DC, where she works in the music industry during the day and writes at night. Her poetry has appeared in The Hunger Journal, the Mochila Review, Third Wednesday, and Volition.