—to Dan Maddening shadow across your line of vision— what might be there, then isn't, making it hard to be on the lookout, concentrate, even hear—well, enough of the story I've given you, at least—you've had your fill, never asked for this, though you were the one to put a hand out, catch hold, not about to let me vanish the way of the two you lost already to grief's lure. I'm here; close your eyes, listen to our daughter practicing, going over and over the Bach, getting the mordents right, to make the lovely Invention definite. What does mordent mean, her piano teacher asked—I was waiting in the kitchen and overheard—I don't know, something about dying? No; morire means to die, mordere means to take a bite out of something—good mistake, she said. Not to die, to take a bite—what you asked of me—and then pleasure in the taking. Close your eyes now, listen. No one is leaving.
From Bad River Road by Debra Nystrom. Copyright © 2009 by Debra Nystrom. Used by permission of Sarabande Books, Inc. All rights reserved.
Debra Nystrom is the author of Night Sky Frequencies and Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, 2016).
Date Published: 2009-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/floater