Listening in the Dark
Even in this light, I can see
your want. A gulley appears
in the hard bare field between
those fenced brows & opens
into shallow beds tilled from temple
to temple as if the glut of a flood
had been swallowed to reveal
the land’s contour underneath.
Habit—or hurt—has made
your surface smooth (its true
smallholding kept submerged)
& I drink of this drought
like I’m told a new calf gasps
for air when its muzzle is cleaned
of that which had only just
kept it subsisting. Is it still
synesthesia if I have no choice
but to use my eyes as ears? You
laugh then, your teeth fitted
around the steady static grumble
of the sea below us, your eyes
a yes or no question I’ve waited
seasons to seed. Operator, are you
there? My hands have never been
so pleased to be my mouth, so
my mouth can be other things.
The moon is a sickle that swings
despite the plow’s augured return
& in my fingers is your name
I plant again & again in the ground.
Originally printed in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review: XXV. Copyright © 2017 by Meg Day. Used with the permission of the author.
Meg Day grew up in California’s Bay Area and received a BA from the University of California–San Diego, an MFA from Mills College, and a PhD from the University of Utah, where Day was a Steffensen-Cannon Fellow and poetry editor for Quarterly West.
Day is the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street, 2014), winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award and finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Day is also co-editor, with Niki Herd, of Laura Hershey: On the Life & Work of an American Master, published in 2019 as a part of The Unsung Masters Series through Pleaides Press.
Day has received awards and fellowships from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, the Lambda Literary Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, Hedgebrook, the International Queer Arts Festival, and others.
Day was the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor for January 2020. They have taught at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and currently teach in the MFA program at North Carolina State University.
Date Published: 2017-12-04
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/listening-dark