To have it, be it
those mornings when you wake
and cannot turn your head.
The stiff column of your neck & spine
reminding you they exist & of how
limited peripheral vision is & more so
as we age, the eyes becoming nothing but
slits, wide-eyed wonder no more than a phrase.
This is when you wish for it &, too,
when winter comes ferocious, making its demands:
the coat, the gloves, the hat, the scarf, the boots,
the wariness of ice, press of snow, hands lying
chapped in your lap every evening.
&, lastly, when hungry, that particular ache.
You see it as a flame, some carryover from those Sundays
when you accompanied your mother & served
as acolyte, good girl. The lit candle hovering
is what you imagine, wish to be. Only wind would frighten
or the wet pinch of fingers, nothing more. & not often.
The ease, the ease, & the weightlessness you try for those
days when you walk the house & gather items & drive a mile
to give them away!
Sometimes, in certain settings, you near it:
the ascent into air, the descent into water, those
temporary states. But only sometimes & so briefly.
You dream of a room with one window & white walls,
a bed, a chair, a desk, three books, paper, pen,
the one painting no more than 8 X 8. & still too much
too often. You ask if three is too many, if the image
could rather, instead, be only recalled. If the words need
What is it you wish to cast off?
What more could you disown?
Argue without sense. Just the furor of the bee’s sting
and subsequent weeping. Quick anger and tears, the stopped
phrase, mid-sentence. I do not want. Or: go ahead and.
Tear the pages out in the middle and near the end, where it gets interesting.
She walks offstage and doesn’t return and we ask, What became of her?
Not even a few lines, like in Shakespeare, about her death. Nothing. Last you heard,
she had moved to Texas and wrote with sadness of the never-ending flatness.
Sure, there were sunsets, but.
Way out on the peninsula, there was no service. Even in the town,
before the logging roads, red and wet, nothing.
People used actual maps, folded in haphazard ways, and tried not to think
of the movies they had seen or the books they had read featuring disappearance,
absence, the answer
the cheeky comment in ink on the glossy page,
and another, on the back of a photo. There on the shelf, there
in a box.
And the three-legged stool with its spinning top, no accompanying keys. There
in the corner.
And the white plates and bowls parceled,
stacked in the back of the cabinet.
One, two, and three.
One, two, and three.
And the skin of a berry
or a fruit. Hanging limp on the tree,
lying, gutted, on the cutting board. Or
Kelly R. Samuels lives and works as an adjunct English instructor near what some term the “west coast of Wisconsin.” Her work has appeared in PoetsArtists’s JuJuBes, online at apt, Off the Coast, and Cleaver, and is forthcoming in Kestrel.