Donald Vincent


“In her absence, / everything seemed something else”
- John Skoyles (Initials Written on a Screen Door in Dew)

when the freesia bulbs wilted, her
scent lingered over strange places, an absence
of a combination of worry & thought. everything
rarely seen not in praise of poison seemed
a secret, like faith practiced before bed. something
like poetry in the future tense, else 

it be a song that stirs blood yet to flow in veins, else
it be tucked into a bottom drawer, loved & unused. her
story has been a hit record for decades, something
like We Found Love In A Hopeless Place, then — absence
then I Will Survive & I Will Always Love You or it seemed
she’d be my everything

i’d be her everything
nobody else
to embody her
purest essence or absence
of persistence. something

said is something
seen. everything
in itself is else-
where with her
or so it seemed.

she is impressed by what is not understood or so it seems
so parts of me must remain a mystery, something
causing considerable cloudiness, the counterpart to her
beating but unflinching heart, variegating everything
at times, sometimes, most times, i wish i were someone else
while balancing the darkness of my canvas & her absence

mother earth was formed, a formless void, an absence
of life, love, light, and all things good. it seemed
like a holiday to meet you, a holy day to know you. all else
is a sin. the memory of your scent, a consequence, something
too sweet to regret. after a— i want to be friends text, everything
changes. i am forced to think: well, what were we before i met her?

absence is a name and nothing else. ask me why i remember her
name, her favorite podcasts, favorite french film? she is everything
like hope, like prayer without god, like let’s change some things.

*Sestina by way of a Golden Shovel form


they built me
to be filthy
black & ugly
and forever
guilty upon
the white gaze
dialect is created
between   my body

& the world
a one-way conversation
feel the crushing

weight of melanin
white is worldly
black as sin


I stopped believing in movies, started to put
my faith in the lulls of lust. Happy endings
are fictional tales we tell ourselves rooting
for optimism over pragmatisms. Farewell

to the fair wells watering our garden. 
My Meyer’s lemon tree and lilies need
to be fed and soiled. What is it called
when a person’s presence halts time?

Haunts the mind? Like the split seconds
Before a car crashes, is the absence
Of death love? I haven’t thought of having
kids, but know the names for my daughters.

What is your love life like? She says her lover
loves her but will not move in or raise children.
What are their names? Smiling, I chattily rattle—
Magalie, Margot or Margeaux, (I am not sure

of the spelling) and Maizie. They’re from movies—
The Intouchables and What Maizie Knew.
Did you know my mom was writing that film
Since I was young in a matter of fact tone?