Poetry Less Than Daily

Strong Poems. Beautiful Poems. Tough Poems. Poems w/ the F-word. Poems less frequent than before but no less kick-ass.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Barbara Ras

Letter to the Front, 2

When it is still, I listen for your voice.
It has a life of its own, without you.
On bad days, just words, strength,
gardenias, repent.
On good days, stories, like children coming out
after rain. The one about being put out of the car
by the side of the road, how small your parents looked
driving away and how big the dandelions near you
little shoes. The one about the baby teeth
you kept in a miniature silver trunk
until one Saturday you laid them out in the sun
and a bird ate them.

Before the war, I thought I knew
where we stood, the ground
solid and the big blue earth
held up by a turtle and below that
turtles all the way down.

The mail is slow. I wait
for your letters, for the one that says,
“If I survive the enemy and the fire
we will live in the country and raise sheep
and in the lambing season
when the new grass is fragile enough
I will go down
on all fours, I will feast and weep.”

I watched a man touch his wife
on the cheek with the rounded back
of his hand. Just once, his half-fist
brushed the invisibly fine fur of her face,
just once, like a comb, like salt, like a line
their bodies would never cross.

Some days I can’t eat. By night
I am hollow with caves, your absence painting
my walls with giraffes, swans,
a black rabbit whose eyes are vermilion.
No one knows about the animals.
No one knows about the speechlessness they keep.

When we danced and our bodies curled
to each other, I couldn’t imagine collisions.
It was the sea I wanted to feel under us.
Now there are windows.
This one to see if there’s fire.
This one to see if there’s bigger fire.
This one for the bomb
the size of a Volkswagen shot twenty miles.
This one for you. This one for you.


At 3:49 PM, Blogger louise said...

Barbara Ras is amazing.
Thanks for this. It is wonderful.


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