The first time I saw hundreds of fiddlehead ferns boiling in an enormous pot I realized
what an odd person I must be to hear tiny cries from the mouths of cooking vegetables.
Similarly, when you hurt me, I curled like a
for Etta Silver (1913–2013) This is where the poem holds its breath, where the usable truth sways, sorrowing, and the people sway with the truth of it, and this is where the poem enters the dark. This is where the book closes and the clock opens and the clock closes and the book opens to song so the snow geese murmur and the coyote swaggers along the aspens. This is where the geese fly unabashedly out, and the sky turns white and wild with sound. This is where tumult, this is where prophecy. This is where the poem repents of language. This is where the poem enters silence, where the child holds the book in her lap whose pages are aflame with life, whose song sways with a usable truth, sorrowing. And this is where the poem holds its breath, and this is where the poem enters the dark. This is where it leaps wild about the child, where the snow geese seize the seamless sky and the universe splits open for one poem— the way a life lived calls on us to praise it.
Maureen Seaton is the author of six poetry collection, including Furious Cooking (University of Iowa Press, 1996), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize and the Lambda Literary Award.