Beauty’s feeling fugitive furtive and sallow in her bathrobe standing ragged at the fridge Wisdom peers in like an owl perched on a midnight limb— once she was Madame X in her dark dress, vamp with a raptor’s eye, aloof to matters mundane as dinner until they slithered suggestively by— Now, silence strings itself on a necklace between them as fragile as life. Calendar pages fold into pearls hoping to surf on Beauty’s shell or, failing that, to try once more for Wisdom’s attention— bills, bones, teeth coughed up as a pellet ____
L.J. Sysko’s work has appeared/is forthcoming in Ploughshares, BEST NEW POETS, Radar, Limp Wrist, SWWIM Every Day, and Painted Bride Quarterly, among others. BATTLEDORE, poems of early motherhood, was published as a chapbook in 2017 (Finishing Line Press). A 2022 Palm Beach Poetry Festival Thomas Lux Scholar, Sysko has been honored with both Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Delaware Division of the Arts Fellowships; her poetry has twice been shortlisted for the Fish Publishing Prize, judged by Billy Collins, and has earned finalist recognition from Marsh Hawk Press and The Pinch, among others. She is a reader for The Common and a Delaware State Arts Council board member; she can be found online at ljsysko.com.