All My Suicides Have Been Men

It’s no one’s bed we’re lying in & from it we can hear the almost-ocean in the eaves of the house behind the other house There is the whisper intrusion makes There the four low steps Here Rest yourself before There the cherry plum its red-black leaves sweeping the green roof The incense of sweet pea climbs the trellis You had the gun You the belt The belt! & the cliff face took you middle boy You left & I do not pretend to gainsay blame The sky was deep blue tulle & there were other skies but I was my center Always I am my center & everywhere the ghost text appears in waves in sheets in trifles of thought no longer than a trifle’s worth I claim to be changed Come back I am grown I know nothing now & am willing to tell you


Cover of TLR's "Therapy" issueRenée Ashley is the author of five volumes of poetry, a novel, and two chapbooks. Her most recent books are Because I Am the Shore I Want to Be the Sea (Subito Book Prize, University of Colorado—Boulder) and The View from the Body (Black Lawrence Press). A portion of her poem, “First Book of the Moon,” is included in a permanent installation by the artist Larry Kirkland in Penn Station, Manhattan, NY. She has served as Assistant Poetry Coordinator for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and as Poetry Editor of The Literary Review. Ashley teaches in the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program and in the MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

“All My Suicides Have Been Men” originally appeared in Therapy! (TLR, Fall 2009).