Monday, August 9, 2010


"I was much too far out all my life
and not waving but drowning."--Stevie Smith

Will I die in the low calm of winter?
Certainly not under the ruby sky of summer, sweating. Will
I swim up like a fish in an ecstasy of forgetting
or will memory swing down like a hammer and fasten me
to the old swarming backdrop of regret, the buzz
humbling, the buzz too close finally to ignore.

Will I walk angelic into sleeping water, ignore
the yellow song lighting behind my ribs? Winter
water is a mother. Maybe she will slosh and buzz
softly, hold me under her silent freeze. I will
not be afraid, then, of the sun-song leaving me,
of the familiar world calling then forgetting

my name, unleashing it: Alicia forgetting
already the muted sound of drowning, able finally to ignore
the dark eyes of windows and doorways that follow me
with their open watching, able finally to swallow winter;
the white heart, the cracked sea will
lull and rock me. Oh sleepy mama-buzz

cradle me, baby, baby, violet lullaby-buzz
a close tide rising in my ear, forgetting
the boom-sound of my heart: my name will
sink like an anchor, my name will ignore
me. Will the whitewashed sleep of winter
dance me down, someday, what day, tell me,

will the polar ocean sing me
to ever-sleep and pass with me the hushed season: the buzz
and swarm of her cold needles, her winter-
breath held, moment-frozen, forgetting
Alicia, Alicia, forgetting the lush summer sky? No. Do not ignore
the thrashing singing keening mouth-gaping will

to endure--Alicia--to live, to surface and live, the fierce gasping will.

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