It's just poetry, it won't bite


10.11.18 Posted in today's words by

Susan Sonde’s collections include Drumming on WaterInland is Parenthetical, and In the Longboats with Others, which was a winner of The Capricorn Book Award. Her poems have appeared in The Southern Humanities Review, The Mississippi Review, Narrative Magazine, Northwest Review, Puerto del Sol, Cimarron Review, and American Letters and Commentary, among others. 

By Susan Sonde

And the Gods said to me—lie still here in this space we have provided. All things within
it are undiminished, unconsumed. You shall have it for a day, until dusk. And I lay still, obedient in my quiet skin, atop a layer of earth waiting to make what it could of me.
The hills were just like the hills on earth, only lower and tender, a kind of moss barely troubling the air. And the moss parted, revealing a primordial caress, as if a finger
about to touch. I asked the sun, its orbit entrails trailing, for adornment, a grain of
luster. And the sun responded as if doused with kerosene, was nonstop bluster, a red
full of noise which lit upon me—I should have burned.

Oh weariness, I was narrating impermanence when I happened upon an inch worm,
a tiny deity, a silken replica spinning from a leaf in a place where ambergris, the warm
and living light collects. And I asked it to share with me the science of turning. Was it hoping for a little extra life, a few more miles to put into the spurious bag its body, my
own corporeal sufficiency insufficient, experiencing an influx like death. There was
white in my blood like glacial drift, the white of chilblains, the cold of marsh reducing
my savings, my small thrift of cells.

Can a world die trawling the universe? Avalanches flock. Pyrites and basalts collect.
The air hardens and impedes. Skin ravels and turns to coal. Water—then not water.
Rabbits pour from the leaves. The leaves rend grease. Does the earth intone as it travels
the universe? Or is that the sound of chains on walls I hear? Are the Gods posing as
chunks of iron? The heavy lifting who will do it? There are not enough ribs in the world strong enough to bring them down, to make them soft again and dewy.

Dragonflies are darting into the broth of night like incandescent angels. Who drinks of night establishes in himself the wide shape of uncertainty. Who presses too hard against glass must break and will hear the no that answers all being. His pain when he shatters
will be searing until the flesh is married off.

Wind come, bring along your brain. I shall need you presently to ferry my silly damaged smile aloft. The stars have come out along the edges of the sky like love beads, chains
of them to slip-knot, endure—to make shelter.

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