Today's poem is by Beth Ann Fennelly

The Welcoming

Distance was the house from which I welcomed you.
Time, time was the house, and to welcome you
I strung garlands of eggshells and rubies.

Thirsty I welcomed you, you the salt
sucked from the tips of braids
after running from the ocean of someone else's childhood.

I turned the skeleton key. I welcomed you from the narthex
of invisible churches.

There at the marble bar at the Folks-Bergère
I welcomed you in the mirror,
waving my chartreuse tumbler,
wearing my velvet choker, wafting my nocturnal perfume.

On the subway of extranjeros
I patted the empty seat beside me.

I foraged for you in welcome. Like a bottlenose dolphin,
I tore sponge from the sea floor
covered my beautiful nose with it and dug between barnacled rocks.
Yes I welcomed you with my efficient body.

I welcomed you from the house of memory,
where I am lonely

Again I vow not to think about whether you arrived,
or in what state.

Just that I was there, welcoming

with a singed collar, with a bee balmed in amber,
with an oyster cracker, a seashell full of champagne.

I welcomed you from a house of needles.
I welcomed you from the fists of babies.
Standing on the doormat
of' my black shadow,
with a beginner's brow, with a hoop of angels,
with the ache of unlit candles,
I welcomed you.

Copyright © 2008 Beth Ann Fennelly All rights reserved
from Unmentionables
W. W. Norton
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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