Thursday, October 21, 2010

Poetry Friday: For Life






Choice


         Extra place set at your mind's table:
expectant glass, untasted wine

         turned to vinegar. Another faceless moon
begs at the window. Everywhere the impossible

         presence:  voice that doesn't call
from upstairs, nobody who'll appear,

         who now, behind a locked bathroom door,
washes, brushes hair, drops a towel

         for you to hang. Nothing's ever unfair.
No C in French. No midnight curfew.

         No talking back, no not-speaking-to.
When was it you began to hear

         silence:  clear, insistent, steady
as a heartbeat, asking, How weren't you ready?







Grateful acknowledgment is due the editors of  First Things, in whose pages an earlier version of this poem first appeared.

See what else is up for Poetry Friday . . .



13 comments:

Andromeda Jazmon said...

This one gives me a chill. Nothing is ever unfair indeed.

Sally Thomas said...

Thanks very much for stopping by, and for hosting PF today.

And yeah, in my house lots of things are unfair a lot of the time -- and I am grateful.

Pentimento said...

That is chilling and hard-hitting.

steve said...

I have had to print this one out on actual paper, as I trust neither my fickle memory nor this internet thing, and I need to re-read it a few times.

Chatted briefly with 3rd-graders about T.D. Young's definition of poetry this morning: "the means by which we express that which we have arranged that we cannot know otherwise," as best I recall. They didn't get it. Neither did I, but it seemed worth contemplating.

Melissa said...

Thank you for posting this poem. The tone of it 'works' and I love to read a poem that's been well-drafted and edited.

Sally Thomas said...

Dr. Young! Like whom they do not make them any more.

Author Amok said...

My favorite lines are, "Everywhere the impossible/presence: voice that doesn't call/from upstairs, nobody who'll appear,/who now, behind a locked bathroom door,/washes, brushes hair, drops a towel/for you to hang."

I'll remember your poem when my kids are complaining, annoying, but here.

Author Amok said...

My favorite lines are, "Everywhere the impossible/presence: voice that doesn't call/from upstairs, nobody who'll appear,/who now, behind a locked bathroom door,/washes, brushes hair, drops a towel/for you to hang."

I'll remember your poem when my kids are complaining, annoying, but here.

Sally Thomas said...

Thanks. And you know, there are times when I'd do well to remember it, too . . .

Doraine Bennett said...

Lovely. I notice that you're a homeschool mom. I homeschooled for many, many years. There are definitely days you feel life is unfair. But for the "impossible presence," we would only be what we are.

Sally Thomas said...

Thank you, Doraine. So beautifully said.

Carlie said...

*shudder* So sad. Thanks for the reminder that it's great live in the middle of the "not fair's"

laurasalas said...

Beautiful poem. I could read it two ways, with the speaker as a grieving parent of a child lost in teenagerhood or with the speaker as a woman looking back, regretting an abortion. I thought it was the second, but most of the comments are now making me think it's the first...

I love especially the expectant glass and the faceless moon. Lovely and sad.