Lose yourself but lose yourself backwards. Leave your life by allowing the small death to
happen, the leap in dark lake, clean water closing its lilies, its turtles, the slugs of its mud.
The soul you would lift in sleepless coils, lilting like larks towards a cloud-clamored sun, let it
come down, let it sink, listless, lackadaisical, its dropped pebble dopplering rings in the ratio
of ripples' surrender. Lâchez-vous, lâchez tout. Let the soul drown, swallowed by the body.
Rest, lean your length on the column of fortune's flattery, lean and lounge as I've learned: let
the silver slabs of stone you balance on be ballast to your ballet, be throne to your body's
lithe latitudes, sleek as minks licking the spill of their fur. Lean and let go. Lentement,
lentement. And then, lourde mais liesse, a weight with wings, laugh, laugh a little, smile as
though you'd fly, shoulders fledged, arms upon the air, your fingers tapered, delicate as
flames of feather, your hands candling calls to the lost listener who bends an ear to the
silence of your form. Mon âme, mon élève, laissez le meilleur pour la fin. Lose yourself to
the lure of light's pure pilgrimage as it claims a temple of your skin, and you and all you've
held to in your life proven its relic, its icon, its holy thing brillianced in the center of a shrine,
your flesh finally hallowed, full and whole, poured out upon the world like molten gold.
Lower yourself, humbled, into the calm of this still light, your home in the body like a letter
folded backwards, enveloped, couched in the lap of the Lord—
Gillian Cummings' poems have appeared in Boulevard, Colorado Review, The Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Paris-American and other journals. She is the author of two chapbooks, Spirits of the Humid Cloud (dancing girl press, 2012) and Petals as an Offering in Darkness, (Finishing Line Press, 2014). A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College's MFA program, she lives in Greenburgh, New York and is also a visual artist.