How Can It Be I Am No Longer I

Lucie Brock-Broido

 
Winter was the ravaging in the scarified
Ghost garden, a freak of letters crossing down a rare
Path bleak with poplars. Only the yew were a crewel
Of kith at the fieldstone wall, annulled
As a dulcimer cinched in a green velvet sack.
To be damaged is to endanger—taut as the stark
Throats of castrati in their choir, lymphless & fawning
& pale. The miraculous conjoining
Where the beamless air harms our self & lung,
Our three-chambered heart & sternum,
Where two made a monstrous
Braid of other, ravishing.
To damage is an animal hunch
& urge, thou fallen—the marvelous much
Is the piece of Pleiades the underworld calls
The nightsky from their mud & rime. Perennials
Ghost the ground & underground the coffled
Veins, an aneurism of the ice & spectacle.
I would not speak again. How flinching
The world will seem—in the lynch
Of light as I sail home in a winter steeled
For the deaths of the few loved left living I will
Always love. I was a flint
To bliss & barbarous, a bristling
Of tracks like a starfish carved on his inner arm,
A tindering of tissue, a reliquary, twinned.
A singe of salt-hay shrouds the orchard-skin,
That I would be—lukewarm, mammalian, even then,
In winter when moss sheathes every thing alive
& everything not or once alive.
That I would be—dryadic, gothic, fanatic against
The vanishing; I will not speak to you again.
 
From The Master Letters by Lucie Brock-Broido, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1997 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Reprinted by permission of the the publisher and author. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

A Meadow by Lucie Brock-Broido
What was it I was hungry about. Hunger, it is one
After the Grand Perhaps by Lucie Brock-Broido
After vespers, after the first snow
Carrowmore by Lucie Brock-Broido
All about Carrowmore the lambs
Did Not Come Back by Lucie Brock-Broido
In the roan hour between then & then again, the now, in the Babel
Domestic Mysticism by Lucie Brock-Broido
In thrice 10,000 seasons, I will come back to this world
Dove, Interrupted by Lucie Brock-Broido
Don’t do that when you are dead like this, I said,
Periodic Table of Ethereal Elements by Lucie Brock-Broido
Real Life by Lucie Brock-Broido
Soon the electrical wires will grow heavy under the snow.


Further Reading

Poems about the Afterlife
Advice to Passengers
by John Gallaher
Beyond Even This
by Maggie Anderson
Beyond the Years
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Cruel Cogito
by Ken Chen
Descriptions of Heaven and Hell
by Mark Jarman
En Route
by Darcie Dennigan
Gone
by Lia Purpura
Heaven for Helen
by Mark Doty
In a Country
by Larry Levis
Larry Levis in Provincetown
by Rick Hilles
Mummy of a Lady Named Jemutesonekh
XXI Dynasty

by Thomas James
Populating Heaven
by Maureen N. McLane
Purgatory
by Maxine Kumin
Red String
by Minnie Bruce Pratt
Song ["When I am dead, my dearest"]
by Christina Rossetti
The Book of the Dead Man (Food)
by Marvin Bell
The Odyssey, Book 11: ll. 538-556
by Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Ghost Poems
Hamlet, Act I, Scene I [Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes]
by William Shakespeare
A Ghost
by Cole Swensen
All Hallows Night
by Lizette Woodworth Reese
At Night
by Yone Noguchi
Blue Dementia
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Blue Oxen
by Dara Wier
Epitaph
by Eric Pankey
Ghost
by Paul Mariani
Ghost Elephants
by Jean Valentine
Ghost House
by Robert Frost
Ghost in the Land of Skeletons
by Christopher Kennedy
Ghost Notes [excerpt]
by Ralph Burns
Ghostology
by Rebecca Lindenberg
Ghosts That Need Reminding
by Dana Levin
Hallow-E'en, 1915
by Winifred M. Letts
Haunted Houses
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Haunted Seas
by Cale Young Rice
Lamp or Mirror
by Tony Barnstone
Lenore
by Edgar Allan Poe
Letter from a Haunted Room
by Lisa Sewell
Low Barometer
by Robert Bridges
My hero bares his nerves
by Dylan Thomas
Ode to a Dressmaker's Dummy
by Donald Justice
Patsy Sees a Ghost
by Lola Haskins
Poems About Ghosts
Rain
by Claribel Alegría
Red String
by Minnie Bruce Pratt
Restless Ghost
by Eric Pankey
Sequestered Writing
by Carolyn Forché
Shadwell Stair
by Wilfred Owen
Shaking the Grass
by Janice N. Harrington
Something Whispered in the Shakuhachi
by Garrett Hongo
Song for the Clatter-Bones
by F. R. Higgins
Spirit Birds
by Stanley Plumly
The Apparition
by John Donne
The Ghost Has No Home
by Jeff Clark
The Haunted Palace
by Edgar Allan Poe
To the Trespasser
by David Barber
Unbidden
by Rae Armantrout
We're All Ghosts Now
by Dara Wier
What They Found In the Diving Bell
by Traci Brimhall
When There Were Ghosts
by Alberto Ríos
Whose Story of Us We Is Told Is Us
by Shane McCrae
Poems About Hell
The Aeneid, Book VI, [First, the sky and the earth]
by Virgil
A Myth of Devotion
by Louise Glück
A Season in Hell
by Arthur Rimbaud
Canto XIV
by Ezra Pound
Descriptions of Heaven and Hell
by Mark Jarman
Hellish Night
by Arthur Rimbaud
I Am a Cowboy in the Boat of Ra
by Ishmael Reed
Medusa
by Patricia Smith
Orfeo
by Jack Spicer
Proverbs of Hell
by William Blake
Silence Raving
by Clayton Eshleman
Slim Greer in Hell
by Sterling A. Brown
Song of Devils
by Thomas Shadwell
Strange Meeting
by Wilfred Owen
Styx
by Dana Levin
The Bistro Styx
by Rita Dove
The Dead
by Mina Loy
The Philosophy of Pitchforks
by Sue Owen
The Pomegranate
by Eavan Boland
Worst Things First
by Mark Bibbins