Memi and Sabu


after Philip Larkin

You’ve hardly any way
of explaining them apart,
hair plaited to the side,

arranged in stone together—
a guess only: the woman
a foot shorter. And her look,

as the plaque says, ‘oblique.’
Her eyes: adroit, intelligent.
His glazed and dull.

A space appears between them—
her embrace doubtful;
his, needful,

urging, stone-weariness
he’s brought to her, desperate
almost, to be soothed.

He palms her breast and stares,
she glances a little to the side,
her body swallowed.

Was it perseverance,
some instinct of passivity
that shaped her submission?

Or love hard as stone:
the moments that preserve us
coupled in difficult affection.


Joshua Kulseth earned his BA in English from Clemson University, his MFA in poetry from Hunter College, and his PhD in poetry from Texas Tech University. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tar River Poetry, The Emerson Review, The Worcester Review, Rappahannock Review, The Windhover, and others. His poetry manuscript, Leaving Troy, was shortlisted for the Cider Press Review Publication Competition.

Jennifer S. Lange is a self-taught artist creating illustrations for books, games, posters, and worldbuilding projects. Her work has been shown internationally and in online exhibitions. She lives in northern Germany with her partner and a lot of cats.