getting ready

by Ellen Devlin


my abundant aunties my antecedents
have been showing up lately in photos
in a life I’m emptying

closet by book by summer
I see them living bodies
real as yours

shoulder deep in the ocean waving
wearing swim caps ear flaps up
red lipstick laughing

a place for me in the next place

maybe death is diving into
the arms of your best beloveds
in an ocean

who if like mine will give you a drag
on a single shared cigarette
while floating on your backs

Ellen Devlin is the author of two chapbooks from Cervena Barva Press, Rita (2019) and Heavenly Bodies at the MET (forthcoming, 2023). Her most recent journal publications include Beyond Words, Muleskinner, and Westchester Review. She has studied the writing of poetry at Bread Loaf, Hudson Vally Writers’ Center, and Sarah Lawrence’s community study program. She lives in Irvington, New York with her husband, Charles. She has two children and five grandchildren who add grace and giggles to her life.