Stellasue Lee: "Purity"

Dr. Stellasue Lee received her Ph.D. from Honolulu University. Now editor emeritus at Rattle, a literary journal, she serves presently on the editorial board at Curbstone Press. You may find “Purity” in her book, Crossing The Double Yellow Line, © 2000, Bombshelter Press.


I am fifty-seven
and have not been loved until now.
The man’s heart that loves me
through the wars and beatings of his dreams,
through the nightly vision of his wife
aiming an old rusted gun at her temple,
then pulling the trigger,
smiles upon waking.
We read poetry at 5 A.M.
He touches me in such a way
that every woman he’s been with
I find my self indebted to.
My heart has become wide open.
My days had been used in such a way
that tomorrow held no future.
I am not supposed to be a bride
or a smokey tongued vamp;
proud of my nakedness and no regrets.
I am the mortal eyes
of a small winged firefly
aglow in the body of time.
I am the famished woman
near the center of a fine collapse
breaking myself into small defeats.
Vulnerability is my mark in reality.
My heart has become wide open.
Sometimes the world seems so large,
I want to touch him while I can.
Here, on this rim leading into the sea,
I’ve learned to understand nothing.
I’ve come to believe in nothing,
but the purple night and his arms
holding me in sleep.
He knows the painful loudness of a tethered mind,
yet provides the beauty that can only come
from an ugly past.
That’s why I want to say something astonishing
like—my heart has become wide open.

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