Today's poem is by Margot Schilpp

What Narrative Is For

How fine the mind that can calculate
change and recognize destiny,

as if luck had something to do
with knowing, as if the lease

signed with the eyes closed
meant happiness, or even time

that's bearable, slow breaths exchanging
the currency that wanting spends,

and how fine that sedatives
and jewels exist, those slanted elegies.

So there are errands and hours
when you hear your own breath—

or feel my breath coming from within you—
and register the haunt of cicadas

summering under the porch. So there is time
spooking off into the wings.

These are going to be big surgeries, bloody
gauzes of conditions, when loss

must be measured, and then
there are the outcomes, the calls

that must be made. Wouldn't we all like to avoid
being the reason for anguish, to understand

why it's so easy to cut ourselves
on our own edges? Silent,

the responders. They might
have the answers, but they're not

telling, even when the vise grips
go for the nails. All that's left is to know

we will suffer through almost anything—
make sure to remember it well.

Copyright © 2005 Margot Schilpp All rights reserved
from Laws of My Nature
Carnegie Mellon University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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