Bahamas 081


The blue light
of a late winter dawn
spills across
this page of poetry
you wrote
for somebody
named Emily.
She lives, I think,
in Massachusetts
and wishes she could
meet Emerson.
I have a hatchet
somewhere that he
gave me for my
birthday, along with
a cipher I have
yet to figure out.


As much as I would like
to associate with poets in
a great round room with
a roaring fire and straw-
covered jugs of chianti
at each table, I must
make do with the idea
of conviviality. Budding
talent slaughtered by
desiccated lovers with
the latest technology is
only slightly less gristly
than the sonnets they
compose. Walt, tucking
into braised kidneys,
tells me, don’t worry.
They too shall pass.


Attaching nationality
to poetry will get you shot,
but only if you choose
the right regime. There is
some cachet, I understand,
in suffering, though I much
prefer the counsel of the
poet from Minnesota who
enjoins us to make peace
with our fathers, and then
come back to write. All I can
say is, thank God I only
have one father.


When no one says
a word, you’ll know
you’re getting close
to the indivisible.
The eastern tinge
sits light upon the
actions of all of us.
When you feel your
eyes sting and the small
hairs rise, reach quickly
for a pen or a canister
of flour and the memory
of your first kiss. It means
Kabir has come to call.


© Elaine Stirling, 2014
Image by Lisa Bobechko, © 2010