Remember sleep, in May, in the afternoon, like
a girl’s bright feet slipped into dark, new boots.
Or sleep in one another’s arms at 10 o’clock
on a Saturday in June?—that
smiling child hiding behind
the heavy curtain of a photo booth.
All our daysleep, my love, remember sleep
like brides in violets. Sleep
like sleepy pilots casting
the shadows of their silver jets
onto the silver sailboats
they also sailed
on oceans miles below.
Such nothingness, on the other
side of which
into eternity, insisting
that we had lived together forever—and did.
From Where Now. Copyright © 2017 by Laura Kasischke. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyon.org.
Like the human brain, which organizes
The swirls and shades of the bathroom tiles
Into faces, faces
Of exhaustion, of disdain. The
Virgin Mary in the toast of course
But also the penance in the pain, and the way
My mother invented
Plums and tissue paper, while
My father invented the type of
That takes you by surprise
When you’ve expected to be chastised
And makes you cry
|About this poem:|
"The poem's impulse is the same as the poem's subject—a grappling, out of hope?—with the idea that there must be some way to integrate into one's life, if necessary, the experience of physical pain. If I can make out faces and objects every morning (if I stare long enough) at the bathroom tile—or so I was thinking—surely there would be a way to make meaning out of this pain?"