poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

“This poem was inspired by a folk tale, the specifics of which I’ve long since forgotten, which included a woman paralyzed by magic. I love the brief and strangely dispassionate nature of folk tales for providing a space in which to project imagined experiences, as here, where I approach the claustrophobic and harrowing feeling of being trapped within one’s own body.”
Lisa Ciccarello

At night, by marriage:

Here is how I control my heart: I string each thought one behind the next, like beads.

I wear the answers I am waiting to give. The jewelry becomes heavy as soil.

My long blink is a scream & a yes. There are things I have to say, but they do not yet know the questions they must ask. & a blink is no word; if they misunderstand—

A heart is just soil. Ask anyone. A heartbeat is a blink. A long blink is a scream. A longer blink is sleep. All night I am screaming.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Ciccarello. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Ciccarello. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Lisa Ciccarello

Lisa Ciccarello

Lisa Ciccarello is the author of At Night (Black Ocean Press, 2015). She lives in Portland, Oregon.

by this poet

poem
Emptiness is a blessing:
it can’t be owned if it doesn’t exist.
 
*
My father said to bloom but never fruit—
 
a small trickle 
eating its way through stone.
 
*
I am one kind of alive:
I see
2