My Own Praise Poem

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Is there edge more
dangerous than snowflake
on the air in summertime,
an omen, maybe, of the sun
dimming to nothing,
or weary grown,
or just waiting
for the praise of birds.

I’ve known what it feels
to be at the bottom of an iron shoe
crushed under lake ice,
scratching to breathe.

One day I rose to the warm
of a morning after
weeks and weeks
(perhaps it was a thousand years of blindness)
enduring showers of rocks from the clouds
too much
for the summer grass
and the frond-bound frogs
and the smothered day laborers,
and opened my window to a breeze
that brushed my cheeks like fingers.

Cast back the weft of those days
when you heard dogs bark
somewhere in the night
–far away–
Suck in the smell
of baking bread
and grilled meat–
boiled sugar–
and testaments
on old paper.
Listen to the booming of the trains
chained in those smoky downtown yards
where cats watch from between cans
the stars stream
above sleeping towers.

Some where a body rolls
in on the tide.
A voice like copper wire
cuts my arm.
I smear blood
with a shuddering thumb
into images of hillside children
bouncing and bruising their persons
on the greens,
calling into the shadows
for all the sweet in fruit
and the potent enormities in soil
to squeeze into themselves
as we, watchfully,
with heavy fingers,
wonder at how listless we are
and dull
with the imagination
of weeds
while they
like chimes
cut the wind into glass.


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