Dana Levin is the author of Sky Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2011). She teaches at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I say most sincerely and desperately, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Having rowed a little farther away from the cliff Which is my kind of religion Adrift in the darkness but readying oars How can there be too many stars and hands, I ask you — I would be disingenuous if I said "being understood" were not important to me Between the ceiling of private dream and the floor of public speech Between the coin and the hand it crosses Mercantilists' and governors' and preachers' alike The imagination and its products so often rebuff purpose And some of us don't like it, and want to make it mean I would never shoot you, even if you were the only meat around — Anyway, I empathize with your lower division semester (which sounds kinda Dante, to me) Snow-bound sounds gorgeous and inconvenient Like the idea of ending on the internal rhyme of psychics and clients Though I too privilege the "shiny" And of course, I want to be approved of, so much Despite the image I've been savoring, the one of the self-stitching wound Yes, I want to write that self-healing wound poem, the one with cocoon closed up with thorns We are getting such lovely flourishes from our poets Fathomless opportunities for turning literacy into event It's the drama of feeling we find such an aesthetic problem, these days
Copyright © 2008 by Dana Levin. First appeared in American Poetry Review. Reprinted with permission of the author.