Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Pledge

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.

Credit


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

Author


Wendy Xu

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