Did tear along.
Did carry the sour heave
of memory. Did fold my body
upon the pillow’s curve,
did teach myself to pray.
Did pray. Did sleep. Did choir
an echo to swell through time.
Did pocket watch, did compass.
Did whisper a girl from the silence
of ghost. Did travel on the folded map
to the roaring inside. Did see myself
smaller, at least, stranger,
where the hinge of losing had not yet
become loss. Did vein, did hollow
in light, did hold my own chapped hand.
Did hair, did makeup, did press
the pigment on my broken lip.
Did stutter. Did slur. Did shush
my open mouth, the empty glove.
Did grace, did dare, did learn the way
forgiveness is the heaviest thing to bare.
Did grieve. Did grief. Did check the weather,
choose the sweater, did patch the jeans
worn out along the seam. Did purchase,
did pressure, did put the safety on the scissors.
Did shuttle myself away, did haunt, did swallow
a tongue of sweat formed on the belly
of a day-old glass. Did ice, did block,
did measure the doing. Did carry.
Did return. Did slumber, did speak.
Did wash blood from the bitten nail,
the thumb that bruised. Did wash
the dirt-stained face, the dirt-stained
sheets. Did take the pills. Did not
take the pills. Cut the knots
from my own matted hair.
Copyright © 2020 by Jessica Rae Bergamino. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 9, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“‘Did Rise’ emerged at the very end of my Saturn Return, an astrological period of radical growth. I was in the first year of a PhD program and living alone for the first time as an adult, which also meant it was the first time I was confronting—with an equal balance of pride and shame—the person I had grown up to be. The poem isn’t an account of the result, but it reckons with the process. It is after Lucie Brock-Broido.”
—Jessica Rae Bergamino
Jessica Rae Bergamino
Jessica Rae Bergamino is the author of UNMANNED, (Noemi Press, 2018) winner of the Noemi Press Poetry Prize. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
Date Published: 2020-01-09
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/did-rise