Madeleine Bazil

Short Film

Pleasure is cold fruit, the choice to eat it.
See me,
aperture wide,
that I appear
to be sprawled across the quaternary,
elaborately a part of the world.
After anticipation, swallowing
streams of juice.
So life is about pleasure:
the exploded view.
In the desert, there are
small delights: vygies blooming headstrong,
my sticky hand pitting cherry stone from
sternum, depositing in ochre clay.
I would not call this overwrought.
I would
choose you again.

Yes, I dared witness my delight.
No, I could not pronounce love.
I painted your landscape;
my canvas sits still on your shelf.
There is a truth you withheld,
but pleasure in the wound
of not knowing. When I say I ache,
I trust, I recall the contours
of rugged sandstone, I taste
the slow salt of focal length,
I nearly grasp you. Can there be
a gift that is not selfish?

I see myself
moving through you.
My new lover, away in Europe, says
I’m in his dreams,
but I cannot reconcile myself
to two places
at once. My anger is a molten core,
gives no pleasure,
blooms heady. I wake in the scrim of dawn
to alpenglow
as old fury whets upon skin. Winter
begins its hard scrum:
edging to break out from a long stillness.
I thought I had
cropped the shot tight enough. I thought I held
the rig. Not so.
Once, I chose you. You, the framing device
I still pass through;
your absence, depth of field. There is so much
blood in me yet.

Madeleine Bazil is a multidisciplinary artist and writer interested in memory, intimacy, and the ways we navigate worlds—real and imagined. Her poetry and criticism is published or forthcoming in The Seventh Wave, Pleiades, Stanzas Poetry Magazine, Sonora Review, Split Lip, and elsewhere. She was long listed for Palette Poetry’s 2023 Rising Poet Prize.