Today's poem is by Susanna Rich

Wrapping Paper

The brook slows. Early ice
crimps the surface like
crumpled paper resmoothed,

almost. Nothing soft penetrates —
not snow, not skittering
leaf, not seed. Is this, then,

the impulse to graft
some skin to what, as "gift,"
will not change? Or is it that a gift is

never done? Always something
in the giving that must be tucked,
boxed, foiled, bagged...

Hesitation? Tape down the fear
of won't you love me? Bow the not
Hide the tender I give

so you will give yourself, or not
take me?
If all this covering
were for surprise,

why not arrive, red rag
L.L. Bean watch cap pulled
over the ears, as if it were

yours — and then say,
let's say, to an uncle: Yank it off—
it's yours?
But that

can't be the what of this last-minute
drudge and rush in the backseat
with ribbon and crepe — not surprise, not

delight. What warped between
the childhood game of guess which hand,
the unpeeling of fisted

fingers — and this iridescent
Mylar, this Medusa of corkscrew ribbons,
the spray of poison holly, or miniature

elf? How careful the rolling
of our serrated edges into razor
creases, the triangular folding

of flaps; the double-stick seamless
nesses. If only what we did with paper
eased or mended or reconciled for the loss

of the hard gift of presence.
If only rituals of appearance could be
ravaged, balled up, tossed.

Copyright © 2007 Susanna Rich All rights reserved
from Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!

Home    Archives   Web Monthly Features    About Verse Daily   FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily   Publications Noted & Received  

Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved