Today's poem is by Lisa Sewell

A Personal Matter (1987)

The first suggestion comes in sleep
weeks before the cold machinery
begins to lay its somber packages at her door:

the canny premonition, not within the resplendent
discontinuous matter of the dream itself—
those unbending legs of violence that cannot
be named or felt—but in the starting up and into the inconsolable
that has no source, no street signs or dead end

Months later in the movie theater of refuge and refusal
with the once known and reliable in shambles
and a story nothing like hers unfolding rapidly in light
and shadows indivisible progress across the screen

the low unmentionable chord returns
or climbs from murky depths, a drowned bell
striking and deepening in rings.

Suddenly I realize that
every time you stand at a crossroads of life and death
you have two universes in front of you

and if I step
if I am steeped
if I emigrate to a life surrounded by strangers

it's entirely a personal matter

for the abiding violet anti-hunger
the empty grief universe in front of you
becomes inhabitation, final and complete
though no longer in the ways
deep in the suburbs of Los Angeles
we had always talked about and longed for.

Copyright © 2009 Lisa Sewell All rights reserved
from Long Corridor
Seven Kitchens Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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