I made you a promise I intended to keep:
I will cover my body; I will keep your words near
like the pearl at the curve of my ear.
Of the gull flying above the ocean’s deep
belly I thought: he has nothing to forgive, nothing to fear.
But I made you a promise I intended to keep.
And of the fish below, daring to leap
toward the threat of a beak—I too heard
desire sigh like a pearl at the curve of my ear.
Instinctively, I waited until the seeping
light of day to wear a dress I hadn’t planned to wear,
to unmake the promise I’d intended to keep.
I undressed before him, underripe
like new fruit, but imagined you there,
saying: you made me a promise you intended to keep,
then buried it like a seed in the curve of a pear.
Hannah Dow is the author of Rosarium (Acre). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the Southern Review, Pleiades, and Cincinnati Review, among others. She is the editor in chief of Tinderbox Poetry Journal.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.