“Lament” by Ace Boggess

sorry I didn’t know her. sorry
I couldn’t be sorrier. you
have lost her—lost—you list
a little left & wobble
in necessary drunkenness.

sorry I have no answers
for repair of grief, relief,
release. sorry you weep
or fail, your eyes like those
of granite poses. sorry
not a single flowery line
will right the feeling.

sorry I keep saying sorry—
wax-tongued, penitent—
as if it were a final offer,
as if any, as if negotiation.

now you rise, go on
with morning, mourning,
a day among the living &
the dead. so sorry
you feel each breath so clearly
as if a dagger, as if proof

the equation of life
is unresolved. you
solve for X as all of us
while sorries collect
in a wastebasket of unknowing.


Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018) and Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road, 2017). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

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