2071: There She Is | Linda Gregg

poetry, exceptindreams
"There She Is"
Linda Gregg

When I go into the garden, there she is.
The specter holds up her arms to show
that her hands are eaten off.
She is silent because of the agony.
There is blood on her face.
I can see she has done this to herself.
So she would not feel the other pain.
And it is true, she does not feel it.
She does not even see me.
It is not she anymore, but the pain itself
that moves her. I look and think
how to forget. How can I live while she
stands there? And if I take her life
what will that make of me? I cannot
touch her, make her conscious.
It would hurt her too much.
I hear the sound all through the air
that was her eating, but it is on its own now,
completely separate from her. I think
I am supposed to look. I am not supposed
to turn away. I am supposed to see each detail
and all expression gone. My God, I think,
if paradise is to be here
it will have to include her.

2070: Hades' Pitch | Rita Dove

poetry, exceptindreams
"Hades’ Pitch
Rita Dove

If I could just touch your ankle, he whispers, there
on the inside, above the bone—leans closer,
breath of lime and pepper—I know I could
make love to you. She considers
this, secretly thrilled, though she wasn’t quite
sure what he meant. He was good
with words, words that went straight to the liver.
Was she falling for him out of sheer boredom—
cooped up in this anything-but-humble dive, stone
gargoyles leering and brocade drapes licked with fire?
Her ankle burns where he described it. She sighs
just as her mother aboveground stumbles, is caught
by the fetlock—bereft in an instant—
while the Great Man drives home his desire.

Tags:

poetry, exceptindreams
"Prayer to Persephone"
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Be to her, Persephone,
All the things I might not be:
Take her head upon your knee.
She that was so proud and wild,
Flippant, arrogant and free,
She that had no need of me,
Is a little lonely child
Lost in Hell,—Persephone,
Take her head upon your knee:
Say to her, “My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here.”

2068: Turtle in the Road | Faith Shearin

poetry, exceptindreams
"Turtle in the Road"
Faith Shearin

It was the spring before we moved again, a list of what
we must do on the refrigerator, when my daughter
and I found a turtle in the road. He was not gentle
or shy, not properly afraid of the cars that swerved

around his mistake. I thought I might encourage him
towards safety with a stick but each time I touched
his tail he turned fiercely to show me what he thought
of my prodding. He had a raisin head, the legs of

a fat dwarf, the tail of a dinosaur. His shell was a deep
green secret he had kept his whole life. I could not tell
how old he was but his claws suggested years of
reaching. I was afraid to pick him up, afraid of the way

he snapped his jaws, but I wanted to help him return
to the woods which watched him with an ancient
detachment. I felt I understood him because I didn't
want to move either; I was tired of going from one place

to another: the introductions, the goodbyes. I was sick
of getting ready, of unpacking, of mail sent to places
where I used to live. At last I put my stick away
and left him to decide which direction was best.

If I forced him off the road he might return later.
My daughter and I stood awhile, considering him.
He was a traveler from the time of reptiles, a creature
who wore his house like a jacket. I don't know

if he survived his afternoon in the road; I am still
thinking of the way his eyes watched me go.
I can't forget his terrible legs, so determined
to take him somewhere, his tail which pointed
behind him at the dark spaces between the trees.

2067: Letter to a Lost Friend | Barbara Hamby

poetry, exceptindreams
"Letter to a Lost Friend"
Barbara Hamby

There must be a Russian word to describe what has happened
between us, like ostyt, which can be used
for a cup of  tea that is too hot, but after you walk to the next room,
and return, it is too cool; or perekhotet,
which is to want something so much over months
and even years that when you get it, you have lost
the desire. Pushkin said, when he saw his portrait by Kiprensky,
“It is like looking into a mirror, but one that flatters me.”
What is the word for someone who looks into her friend’s face
and sees once smooth skin gone like a train that has left
the station in Petersburg with its wide avenues and nights
at the Stray Dog Cafe, sex with the wrong men,
who looked so right by candlelight, when everyone was young
and smoked hand-rolled cigarettes, painted or wrote
all night but nothing good, drank too much vodka, and woke
in the painful daylight with skin like fresh cream, books
everywhere, Lorca on Gogol, Tolstoy under Madame de Sévigné,
so that now, on a train in the taiga of  Siberia,
I see what she sees — all my books alphabetized and on shelves,
feet misshapen, hands ribbed with raised veins,
neck crumpled like last week’s newspaper, while her friends
are young, their skin pimply and eyes bright as puppies’,
and who can blame her, for how lucky we are to be loved
for even a moment, though I can’t help but feel like Pushkin,
a rough ball of  lead lodged in his gut, looking at his books
and saying, “Goodbye, my dear friends,” as those volumes
close and turn back into oblong blocks, dust clouding
the gold leaf that once shimmered on their spines.

2066: Names | Fady Joudah

poetry, exceptindreams
"Names"
Fady Joudah

Thank you for dreaming of me
for letting me know
for waking up to remember that you dreamed

I never wake up when I dream of you
What woke you up
was it someone
else’s body?

A small thrill a little secret is ours
a desire for safe travel
in unspilled blood

2065: Wintering | Kevin Young

poetry, exceptindreams
"Wintering"
Kevin Young

I am no longer ashamed
how for weeks, after, I wanted
to be dead - not to die,

mind you, or do
myself in - but to be there
already, walking amongst

all those I'd lost, to join
the throng singing,
if that's what there is -

or the nothing, the gnawing -
So be it. I wished
to be warm - & worn -

like the quilt my grandmother
must have made, one side
a patchwork of color -

blues, green like the underside
of a leaf - the other
an old pattern of the dolls

of the world, never cut out
but sewn whole - if the world
were Scotsmen & sailors

in traditional uniforms.
Mourning, I've learned, is just
a moment, many,

grief the long betrothal
beyond. Grief what
we wed, ringing us -

heirloom brought
from my father's hot house -
the quilt heavy tonight

at the foot of my marriage bed,
its weight months of needling
& thread. Each straightish,

pale, uneven stitch
like the white hairs I earned
all that hollowed year - pull one

& ten more will come,
wearing white, to its funeral -
each a mourner, a winter,


gathering ash at my temple.

2064: Marriage | Dan Gerber

poetry, exceptindreams
"Marriage"
Dan Gerber

When you are angry it’s your gentle self
I love until that’s who you are.
In any case, I can’t love this anger any more
than I can warm my heart with ice.
I go on loving your smile
till it finds its way back to your face.
poetry, exceptindreams
"it may not always be so..."
e.e. cummings

it may not always be so; and i say
that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch
another's, and your dear strong fingers clutch
his heart, as mine in time not far away;
if on another's face your sweet hair lay
in such a silence as i know, or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be—
you of my heart, send me a little word;
that i may go unto him, and take his hands,
saying, Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face, and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.

2062: Corona | Paul Celan

poetry, exceptindreams
"Corona"
Paul Celan

Autunm eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
From the nuts we shell time and we teach it to walk:
then time returns to the shell.

In the mirror it's Sunday,
in dream there is room for sleeping,
our mouths speak the truth.

My eye moves down to the sex of my loved one:
we look at each other,
we exchange dark words,
we love each other like poppy and recollection,
we sleep like wine in the conches,
like the sea in the moon's blood ray.

We stand by the window embracing, and people look up from
the street:
it is time they knew!
It is time the stone made an effort to flower,
time unrest had a beating heart.
It is time it were time.

It is time.

Translated by Michael Hamburger

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