Monday, February 9, 2009

About sleeping alone and starting out early

Scientific Breakthrough

The snow whipped around so fast last night
it outashed ash. A dry stew shuttled over
rough-edged brick and rattled the window
until this morning dark rain tamped it
and all the riot down to the ground.

There were long grassy evenings but the light
slants blue lately and my only strategy
entails sleeping alone and starting out early.
My hands are red nested birds for now
and preliminary tests indicate only that I may
be fine. Soon noses will tumble out
on rumpled leashes and then and then and then.

They will never find their task
completed. They will never name it.

They have pressed too hard on the hood
and then paced indifferently away.
They have stepped wrong
against someone's ankle,

snapping it twice. (The eaves
lean gracelessly toward the road,
revealing too much.) They want
to learn the meaning of each gesture.

They live elevated lives. They live
elevated lives. They adhere to a list.

In the park, a legion of ancient
women sprint shouting and
splashing for the slide. They screech
and crumple across a hidden swath
of ice, thin hair ribboning across gray
snow and mud, primary mittens
clutching for branch or hand.
A tinny wail lifts across the surface
and slides over the rise.

Someone has volunteered
to recall every bird and try again.
What happens next does not depend.

© 2009 Jenna McWilliams

2 comments:

Geoffrey said...

Bloody brilliant. Well done!

Aaron said...

My favorite bits were:

"My hands are red nested birds for now and preliminary tests indicate only that I may be fine" and "They will never find their task completed. They will never name it."

The theme of the poem seems to be "here's something wonderfully salient--something that almost makes sense, but then it doesnt--this thing is elusive." So the form of the poem is a metaphor for the pursuit of truth. The closer you get to it, the more excitement you feel in its closeness and the more pain you feel for not being able to touch it directly.

I feel your existential pain. I sometimes feel like there are so many stray wires in my brain just begging to be hooked up and if I could just take that one last step I could snatch them all up and spark weld them together, and I would be a god.

 

All content on this blog has been relocated to my new website, making edible playdough is hegemonic. Please visit http://jennamcwilliams.com and update your bookmarks!