Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Am Just Happy to See You

But I also have a poem in my pocket, courtesy of the kind folks at literary magazine Ninth Letter, who sent me a tiny envelope to celebrate today: Poem in Your Pocket Day. And obeying the instructions, I did not open it until April 17th. It was like Christmas morning. And like the best gifts, it seems as if the giver knew me because I received a prose poem. Here it is:

by Sara Pennington

You watch your mother through the barn's KNOT HOLE.

She sharpens anything that she can use for killing, polishes and cleans her own dead daddy's Confederate gun, his knife folded quietly in the homespun pocket of her skirt. The pitchfork gleams like a fox's hungry chops, the scythe fleer its grimace, the sickle its overwrought smirk. Between weapons, her fingers turn to kippers, writhing, those pale-bodied worms eaten up with death. And now, you know why she keeps moving: she must. To rest would be to give thought to the maggots, to the fine-haired fungus, to the earwigs and earthworms; idleness serves only the graveyard's nibbling legions. She will not feed her anger like slop to the swine. Vengeance is mine, saith the widow, for each stillness, each silence is a dark-mouthed

KEYHOLE through which grief slithers like a honey-voiced snake.

Ninth Letter vol. 4, no. 1
Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day, everyone!

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