The diagnosis was god, twice a day until the spirit untangles itself. I took a trip into unscripted days past, teenagers submit to the window an open facing yawn. A walnut fell into the grave of my loved one and stayed there beating patient like a word. I was still unmoved by disbelief watching my father mumble the pledge and hot white stars he can’t remember. Nobody got hurt, some un- fulfilled potential exits the room. Enter, knowledge. Men came to dispel ambiguity and raced my intention to a hard boiling over. Each new decade we stayed was a misinterpretation of genre. We showed our teeth over the years to those who would listen. In the face of the absent subject I felt my desire go flaccid. The leaves fell dutifully one by one from their limbs. But I wrote to you against all odds. Money. Paperwork. Love’s heavy open door. Critique. Indignity. Vision and often enough time.
Copyright © 2018 by Wendy Xu. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 5, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“I wrote this poem thinking about how grief gets transformed into language and the inherent strangeness of that process—the ambiguity of remembering grief, which is different than experiencing it in the moment. This country has asked my family and I to pledge ourselves in myriad ways, which is a giving over, a loss. Is grief a duty? Is it instead a right, a privilege?”
Wendy Xu is the author of Phrasis (Fence Books, 2017) and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013).
Date Published: 2018-06-05
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/pledge-0