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


Why I Am Afraid of Turning the Page

Spokes, spooks: your tinsel hair weaves the wheel
that streams through my dreams of battle. Another
apocalypse, and your weird blondeness cycling in
and out of the march: down in a bunker, we hunker,
can hear the boots from miles off clop. We tend to
our flowers in the meantime. And in the meantime, 
a daughter is born. She begins as a mere inch, lost
in the folds of a sheet; it's horror to lose her before
she's yet born. Night nurses embody the darkness.
Only your brain remains, floating in a jar that sits 
in a lab far off, some place away, and terribly far.
Your skull no longer exists, its ash has been lifted
to wind from a mountain's top by brothers, friends. 
I am no friend. According to them. Accordion, the
child pulls its witching wind between its opposite
handles: the lungs of the thing grieve, and that is
its noise. She writhes the floor in tantrum. When
you climbed the sides of the house spider-wise to
let yourself in, unlocked the front door, let me in
to climb up into your attic the last time I saw you
that infected cat rubbed its face against my hand.
Wanting to keep it. No, you said. We are friends.
I wear my green jacket with the furred hood. You 
pushed me against chain-length. Today is the day 
that the planet circles the night we began. A child 
is born. Night nurses coagulate her glassed-in crib.
Your organs, distant, still float the darkness of jars.

Credit


Copyright © 2011 by Cate Marvin. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Cate Marvin

Marvin's first book, World's Tallest Disaster (Sarabande Books, 2001), won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry

Date Published: 2011-09-21

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/why-i-am-afraid-turning-page