blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Ars Poetica

What is poetry which does not save nations or people?
—Czeslaw Milosz

Can I be saved by writing your hands
onto my skin? Or by imagining
your breath? The mouthfuls of air won’t reek
of burning flesh but taste of wine. Pull back
the sheets so that they rustle like a wing
against a wing. The room will fill with birds.
Not birds with wire claws but mockingbirds
whose feathers are not formed from clouds of ash.
Our sleep won’t carry nightmares in its arms
but drop them by the door like heavy stones.
The moon could smudge the wall with fingerprints,
but there won’t be a moon, and I will find
my way to you through memory or touch,
by following my voice back to its source. 

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