Today's poem is by Linnea Johnson
She Has Never Known
She has never known when to leave well enough alone,
when to take the charm out into the marketplace
and buy groceries with it: celery for a week's soup,
scrap meat for her dinner. She has never learned, for instance,
to buy millet for cakes. She refuses to learn this, buying it instead
for the bluejays, for the shy cardinals, even for the grackles
which peck at her ears as she will sit in the snow to talk with them.
Her hands know only to warm the ice from her peach tree, her plum,
even the mulberry which grows wild as she does
in the weed patch she calls her yard.
She will never learn: she has been told this.
She has never known that her province is smaller than she thinks it is,
that there is no wonder or magic in the decay of the old things
she fills her old house with; that to save the log with the squirrel-stored
nuts is to deny her house heat: nothing more.
With the charm, she could buy shoes for her children,
swaddling for the littlest one who now roams everywhere
naked as the peaches on her summer tree. She could exchange
the charm for all that she now makes: she could hear music
other than that those birds make, for instance.
She will not listen. She will not know
that there is more to a charmed life than the charm.
Instead, she will take the charm,
holding it sometimes in her mouth to touch the designs on it:
sometimes she can read the year it was made with her tongue.
For some reason, which escapes everyone else, she laughs
when she does this, her eyes falling behind her rising cheeks like sunsets in open country.
Copyright © 2011 Linnea Johnson All rights reserved
The Backwaters Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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