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


Floater

—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.

Credit


From Bad River Road by Debra Nystrom. Copyright © 2009 by Debra Nystrom. Used by permission of Sarabande Books, Inc. All rights reserved.

Author


Debra Nystrom

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