Breaking Across Us Now

Katie Ford

 
I began to see things in parts again,
segments, a pen drawn against the skin
to show where to cut, lamppost through the stained glass
with its etchings of light against the wall —
it was the middle of the night. It was something we would tell no one:
The hospital roads with standing water, I drove quickly through,
saying, you wonít have to stay.
                                                 But then I left without you,
you whom Iíve felt missing all this time —
when I sat in the weeds of the yard, told to pull them
from the root, not to touch the wild trillium, tying knots in the daffodil stalks,
discontented. When I watched the scatters
of firs sway their birds out through my storm windows,
the tree itself now and no more,
I thought I needed belief — walking through the stubbed wheat grass
requesting everything that would undo me — the nearness of Christ,
abandon and devotion — no one has to teach me
my disobediences. No one sees
the shed I see now, its roof bent with snow, all of it
leaning south how it was never built.
The inches overcome it, but
the green wood darkens, oceanic and deep.
                                                                   He might not wake up,
I thought that night —
                                         I remembered the house I boarded in one summer
with a widower, his wifeís fabric samples left draped over
the arm of the unfinished chair. I could feel her eyes
in my own when I tried to choose
between them, almost, if the sun of the alcove
hadnít faded them, the dust and his arms worn them.
The sky as stark as the first sheet laid down
after they took her body.
                                           But on that night
while I waited, the clouds casketed the stars,
stars with no chambers or hollows, filling themselves
with their own heat how a hive quivers
to fill each crevice with itself,
how I have never been able.
 
Note: The phrase "Breaking across us now" is from "Easter Morning" by A. R. Ammons. From The Helen Burns Poetry Anthology: New Voices from the Academy of American Poets University & College Prizes, Volume 9. Copyright © 2010 by Katie Ford. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Colosseum by Katie Ford
I stared at the ruin, the powder of the dead
Koi by Katie Ford
Song After Sadness by Katie Ford
Despair is still servant
The Throats of GuantŠnamo by Katie Ford
Morning opens with the comforts of my unbeaten body
[I Failed Him and He Failed Me] by Katie Ford
I failed him and he failed me


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