Estela Eaton

Definition of Is
New Poems From the USA


1. Verb

When your sleeping eye
walls the room in mahogany
bleeding seafoam wallpaper to the floor--
when she is there, roses in her ears,
plastic thorns between manicured toes--
she is, and I am not.

2. Noun

Is is where we met,
the red heat bearable inside,
rows of one-eyed books between us,
viscous pasts waiting to be undressed
in the softer light of future--
As in, is awake; trembling is, in motion.

3. Adjective

we make a serpent striped, with two heads:
one, bowed in purple shadow of regret, is he;
the isn't, restless, coiled, she licks
his ardent cheek depending
on her definition of who, he, is, really.