from WHEREAS ["WHEREAS when offered..."]
WHEREAS when offered an apology I watch each movement the shoulders
high or folding, tilt of the head both eyes down or straight through
me, I listen for cracks in knuckles or in the word choice, what is it
that I want? To feel and mind you I feel from the senses—I read
each muscle, I ask the strength of the gesture to move like a poem.
Expectation’s a terse arm-fold, a failing noun-thing
I scold myself in the mirror for holding.
Because I learn from young poets. One sends me new work spotted
with salt crystals she metaphors as her tears. I feel her phrases,
“I say,” and “Understand me,” and “I wonder.”
Pages are cavernous places, white at entrance, black in absorption.
If I’m transformed by language, I am often
crouched in footnote or blazing in title.
Where in the body do I begin;
From WHEREAS. Copyright © 2017 by Layli Long Soldier. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Layli Long Soldier
Layli Long Soldier is the author of WHEREAS (Graywolf Press, 2017).
Date Published: 2017-04-06
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/whereas-whereas-when-offered