poem index

The First Place (somewhere outside Eden)

Kurt S. Olsson

Listen. It was wrong from the beginning.
Never more than an afterthought, I was blamed.

Understandable: the weak never have the patience
for history. We are too filled with song,

with anointing the stilled body with oil.
Your father was frightened of the immutable,

becalmed, over our heads each night.
He preferred wind, its hint of insurrection.

Afterwards, we became nomads
to his longing to escape all longing.

Me, I lugged it on our slow mule's journey
nowhere, muscling it into the bread, brushing it

from your lashes in the middle of the night.
Like one of your old toys, it was always there

underfoot; he just couldn't see it. Close your eyes
I could have said. There. You're home.

Copyright © 2006 by Kurt S. Olsson. From Autobiography of My Hand. Reprinted with permission of Bright Hill Press.

Kurt S. Olsson