Then I was a safe house
for the problem that chose me.
Like pure math, my results
were useless for industry:
not a clear constellation,
a scattered cluster, a bound
gap. When I looked I found
an explorer bent. Love
never dies a natural death.
It happens in a moment.
Everything hinges on
a delicate understanding.
Even the most trusted caregiver
is only trusted for so long.
From Late Empire (Copper Canyon Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Olstein. Used with the permission of the author.
I'm sorry I was late. I was pulled over by a cop for driving blindfolded with a raspberry-scented candle flickering in my mouth. I'm sorry I was late. I was on my way when I felt a plot thickening in my arm. I have a fear of heights. Luckily the Earth is on the second floor of the universe. I am not the egg man. I am the owl who just witnessed another tree fall over in the forest of your life. I am your father shaking his head at the thought of you. I am his words dissolving in your mind like footprints in a rainstorm. I am a long-legged martini. I am feeding olives to the bull inside you. I am decorating your labyrinth, tacking up snapshots of all the people who've gotten lost in your corridors.
From The Endarkenment by Jeffrey McDaniel. Copyright © 2008 by Jeffrey McDaniel. Used by permission of University of Pittsburg Press. All rights reserved.
For my Mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my Father, born February 1900, died June 1959
Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.
We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.
My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.
And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in their stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.
From The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton, published by Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © 1981 by Linda Gray Sexton. Used with permission.