Poetry from Amanda Dettmann

Photo: Robert Katzki

Self-Love in the Afterlife

“Hour of the rooster, what belongs there.
Hour of the rooster, what belongs there” ~JinJin Xu

If your face is my face, press your forehead to my forehead.
You are the baptism to my gasping bathtub. Shower me
like a sunburned synecdoche. If in the afterlife I don’t recognize you,

remind me how my orchid teacup split your lips blue. Sister me
like a foreign language slipping between us, akin when there’s wind.
There’s always wind. With and without our separateness:

my pear plucked chair rocks your shadow into ricochet
.           your rosewater coats my floating throat to high tide
.                     our blood orange peels back its own grave just in time

When the world begins with breakage:

December will curl its midnight toes pink.
There will be no difference between grasp and gasp.

That moment right before
we fall asleep.

A fire no one knows.


Amanda Dettmann’s work can be found in her published poetry book Untranslatable Honeyed Bruises as well as the following literary journals: The Oakland Review (forthcoming), Underwood Press: Black Works (Dark Imagery Issue), The Mosaic, Angles, and The National Poetry Quarterly, among others. She received first place at the Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival, and her recent work has been featured on Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum’s podcast Voices of the Future. She is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at New York University.

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