September 23, 2009

Susan Abraham

SO YOU SAID WHAT YOU HAD TO SAY

So you said what you had to say, so what
if your words are like a road
that finally got paved;
so what if the wheels
that were always spinning
now have a place to roll,
their own lane beside
the bicycles, and the cars
forever spilling smog.
So now you can say
that the road is yours, too;
that of the great roar
that wakes us each morning,
one tiny squeak is yours.
Now you are the lucky woman
in the supermarket starting
the new line at the new cashier.
Now the parties you dance at
will be above ground
and you will have traded in
your gills for lungs.
And your galoshes will be applauded
at the fashion show for frogs.
In the bleakest urban park,
the pigeons will mimic
your walk, and the tigers,
forgetting the amber sheen
of their own fur, will brush
against your skin saying
what your father said each time
he bought knew shoes:
Feel this, like butter.
All this and more because
of the cryptic company you keep;
all this because you were busted
for lecturing in a private museum
posted with anti-lecture guards,
because your skin overpowered
their fur; your nails, their claws;
your breath became the color of dahlias
reflected in your mother’s long car.
A few words strung on a line
like the whitest sheets
across an alley and everyone’s
muttering. Everyone’s too stunned
to pick up your dropped glove.

from Rattle #23, Spring 2005