What we are
detritus, windburn, a lazy eye. filament, flux,
and implication. overabundance
of white, lamentation
duplicity laying claim. delirium
and water. deer soughing past
a woodpile. flicker of tongues, old eyes.
ice. a long moan running down the shore.
the ache and threat of want, the possibility of being ruined
by a breath. a glance.
a quick wind, a slamming door.
the wrong eyes at the window.
white birch, the moon’s stain. what wasn’t said
but took root nonetheless. that look you have when you shake off sleep and come back to me
(your mind working hard to unfold, quickly, quickly).
desire and stupor. history. this.
tracks through snow, leading out.
A debris poem, a collage of exquisite scraps. The gathered chaff from a the threshing floor of a book. Adrienne Rich writes: “Interior monologue of the poet: / the notes for the poem are the only poem / the mind collecting, devouring / all these destructibles”. This poem has that same collected, impressionist quality – there are some beautiful phrases here (I love “the wrong eyes at the window”) – but more than that there is the sense of images placed together very carefully, very delicately, like a house of beautiful cards.
Rebecca Wee won the Hayden Carruth Award in 2000 for Uncertain Grace (Copper Canyon Press 2001) which is where today’s poem is taken from.