Dear Alice and Ceci n’est pas un visage

by Alice Liefgreen

Dear Alice

Dear gut,
Dear heart,
Dear air around me,

I am writing this after a sleepless night,
in which I was once again seized by
a paralysing fear of death –
of violent death.

When did I start thinking I merit a peaceful ending?
When my body became your sanctuary.
I always placed death within reach… and now?
Now between my body and death
stands the breadth of a single person
(and your breadth, expands infinitely).

Dear mud,

Should I love you or hate you
for making me want to be of this Earth?
I am too winged for Earth,
you, too corporeal for the skies –
suspended, in tight embrace,
we dance the most beautiful

Dear Vienna,

I want –

to make immortal music
with you

I want –

to erect and destroy
to know you, all over,
because of having lived you
all over.

I want –

to give birth to twin thoughts
to hold in my hands
those parts of you
that have never left the confines
of your body.

Dear Alice,

You now exist within her.
In all worlds –
love her, yourself, madly…
(and you will never be missing).

Ceci n’est pas un visage

It’s your deep slumber

that makes me want to climb inside your eye,
pull your lid tightly over my naked frame
and sleep endlessly with you –
what would you do, foreign object in the eye…?
cry me, cry me, expel me!
I’ll slide down your silken cheeks
with outspread hands, caressing you,

it’s the flower of your desert-toned skin

that makes me want to become
an animal-invertebrate and take your shape…
my body at one with your dunes,
the salt of your eyes my compost.

crouching so close to your wet Earth,
a passer-by would see me as a shadow,
oscillating and mooring on your lips…

it’s your face… it’s your face… it’s your

that makes me hunt
for the angels in my beasts
(waning in foolish flames)
and seek out new worlds,
as this one freezes over in despair

it is your ancient face

Alice (she/her) was born in Italy, from an Italian mother and an American father. Growing up bilingual, she moved to the UK at the age of 18 – and has lived there since. Currently she is completing a PhD in Cognitive Science. Her work appears in the anthology Creating in Crisis, Polari Press. Find more of Alice’s work at and follow on Twitter @Alice_Liefgreen