Monday, January 7, 2013

On What Belongs to You Now

Back with the Quakers

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Betsy Sholl

You think you can handle these things:
sunlight glinting off a red Jaguar
honking at the old woman who has snagged

her shopping cart on a snow rut,
or the swaggering three-piece suit who steps
outside the bank, earless to the mossy voice

at his feet asking for spare change,
but then the crunch of something, nothing really,
under your shoe--a dirty comb, a pen cap--

completely undoes you, and it's too much,
too much, being balanced, considering
the complexity of all sides in one

syntactically correct sentence.
All the driver has to say is "Move it,
Lady," and you're back with the Quakers

who trained you to lie still and limp in the street.
Three days they stepped on your hair,
ground cigarettes half an inch from your nose,

while you lay there, trying to be against 
violence, your fists tight as grenades
and a payload of curses between your teeth,

O woman, with a mind Picasso
could have painted, giving you many cheeks,
each one turned a different way.


Late Psalm (Univ of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series)
-from Late Psalm

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