I’ve selected Nick Flynn’s “The Incomprehensibility” because I couldn’t speak or breathe when I finished reading it and that is how I prefer to understand poetry—where there is embodiment and yet too, flight. The language of his poem hovers beyond the ceiling of my tiny, dreaming skull and I sense the scale of the world, of poetry. In lucid awe, his poem speaks to that familiar and immediate sensation where death and time collapse violently in memory. And how “safe” are we inside these oceans? In Nick’s poem time and grief circle each other like distant clocks, ever missing and never arriving, while absence and kindness devour everything. That contrast is devastating. I smile as I consider Lorca’s profound cameo. Nick's poem draws us deeply into our own bodies, insects of memory, undoing us before we are barely forced to acknowledge so much mystery, intimate and public, when we are bare, bared, and unbearable. And how the look of death, always new, flies above our heads and inside our veins.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and visual artist. Her most recent book is Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books, 2015).