There must be soft words
for an evening like this, when the breeze
caresses like gentle fingertips
all over. I don’t know
how not to write darkly and sad.
But it’s two years today since
my little girl was born, cut safely
from the noose.
We meant nothing but hope;
how near death is to that.
Only children, only some children,
get to run free from these snags. She
was born! She lived and she grows
like joy spreading from the syllables
of songs. She reminds me of now
and now and now.
I must learn
to have been so lucky.
I feel like Emily Dickinson did, running her pale finger over each blade of grass, then caressing each root in the depths of the earth's primeval dirt, each tip tickling heaven's soft underbelly. I feel like Emily alone in her room, her hands folded neatly in her lap, waiting forever for one of those two daguerreotypes to embalm her precious soul.
At my most attuned, the present is a pair of wings stretching forever in all directions, flapping calmly, calmly flapping. But as soon as I notice how happy I am, how close to the sun, there I go plummeting into the background of the same damn painting as ever.
If I could reach my hand out to you now, would you take it? How do you think it would feel? Warm and soft and certain? Or like Emily's: clammy and brittle as hardened paste? Is that not how you imagine her hands? Look again—they were like that, otherwise she could never, would never, have written those poems.
|About this poem:|
"This poem comes from a series of prose poems about 'big ideas' written during a period when I was having trouble writing. To get the juices flowing again, I thought I'd try starting with titles, with big abstract concepts, and see where they led. They ended up leading to a handful of pieces like this, which will be published in a chapbook from Omnidawn later this year."
Craig Morgan Teicher