Encasement by Conyer Clayton

Poem title: Encasement Poet Name: Conyer Clayton Poem begins: Because you were given to me when I wanted you gone, I felt I owned you.  Because I saw a concrete box enter a furnace but never your body, I owned what was left of it.  Because I wish for your body, and regret that wish, your body becomes both wish and regret.  Because I never saw your body, I own it and your falling. You don’t drift, lifted ember. You  wanted to. I think I remember you said that once. Fly off. Pond scum. Heart. You said that once. I want to be the lake where you were happy. I could own you happy there. I could own your body happy there. I could be pond scum there with you, happy. I touched the water once and you  floated on top. I could own your float. Even this wish, resistant.  Because I’ll never own you happy, your float, your fly, I clutch to owning your ashes, to doing what I will.  Because you sat on my bookshelf between pictures of us for nearly eight years, I’ve grown heavy and uncomfortable.  Because you live so solid right in front of my bed, because I cannot think of you and not your  ashes, because I cannot not own them. Because I cannot not see them sit like a trinket, among the other trinkets I own, and rocks I pick as souvenirs. Things to remember. Concrete box and box and fire. Things to remember. What feels right in my palm. When you catch my eye in dreams, I can’t remember you warm in my hand.  Because I own you I am tired of owning. I am tired of concrete.  If I emptied a coffin into a well, would I keep that box? End of Poem. Credits: Copyright © Conyer Clayton Originally appeared as an audio recording on the collaborative album If the river stood still (2018) by Conyer Clayton and Nathanael Larochette, and was printed in the Sawdust 4th Anniversary Collection (2018). • conyerclayton.bandcamp.com/album/if-the-river-stood-still-2 • Conyer Clayton is a writer, musician, editor, and gymnastics coach living on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe territory. Her debut full-length collection, We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite (2020, Guernica Editions), was a finalist for the 2021 Relit Award. She won The Capilano Review’s 2019 Robin Blaser Poetry Prize and ARC Poetry Magazine’s 2017 Diana Brebner Prize. She’s released 2 albums and 8 chapbooks, most recently: Sprawl | the time it took us to forget (2020, Collusion Books), written with Manahil Bandukwala, and Towers (2021, Collusion Books) by VII, of which she is a member. Her second full-length is forthcoming Spring 2022.