In Praise of My Sister
My sister doesn’t write poems.
and it’s unlikely that she’ll suddenly start writing poems.
She takes after her mother, who didn’t write poems,
and also her father, who likewise didn’t write poems.
I feel safe beneath my sister’s roof:
my sister’s husband would rather die than write poems.
And, even though this is starting to sound as repetitive as
the truth is, none of my relatives write poems.
My sister’s desk drawers don’t hold old poems,
and her handbag doesn’t hold new ones,
When my sister asks me over for lunch,
I know she doesn’t want to read me her poems.
Her soups are delicious without ulterior motives.
Her coffee doesn’t spill on manuscripts.
There are many families in which nobody writes poems,
but once it starts up it’s hard to quarantine.
Sometimes poetry cascades down through the generations,
creating fatal whirlpools where family love may founder.
My sister has tackled oral prose with some success.
but her entire written opus consists of postcards from
whose text is only the same promise every year:
when she gets back, she’ll have
much to tell.
**This poem doesn’t really remind me of my sister. But it’s a poem about a sister and I think it’s funny. While it is probably true that my sister doesn’t have a purse full of poems she does actually have a body of scholarly writing. She doesn’t limit herself to postcards.
not will, not desire:
at the end you said:
I want to keep my eyes open,
to miss nothing
not entreaty, not regret
not future, not past:
touch and warm weight
breath and again:
what word can be heard
not loss, not absence:
not inside, not outside:
~ by Anne Michaels
EVERY DOG’S STORY
I have a bed, my very own.
It’s just my size.
And sometimes I like to sleep alone
with dreams inside my eyes.
But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepy
and I wake and am afraid, though I don’t know why.
But I’m no longer sleepy
and too slowly the hours go by.
So I climb on the bed where the light of the moon
is shining on your face
and I know it will be morning soon.
Everybody needs a safe place.”
~ by Mary Oliver
Forget each slight, each head that turned
Toward something more intriguing—
Red flash of wing beyond the window,
The woman brightly chiming
About the suffering of the world. Forget
The way your best friend told the story
Of that heroic road trip, forgetting that you drove
From Tulsa to Poughkeepsie while he
Slumped dozing under headphones. Forget
The honors handed out, the lists of winners.
Forget the certificates, bright trophies you
Could have, should have, maybe won.
Remind yourself you never wanted them.
When the spotlight briefly shone on you,
You stepped back into darkness,
Let the empty stage receive the light,
The black floor suddenly less black—
Scuff-marks, dust, blue tape—the cone
Of light so perfect, slicing silently that perfect
Silent darkness, and you, hidden in that wider dark,
Your refusal a kind of gratitude at last.
~ by Jon Davis