Today's poem is by Mary Jo Bang


Mother, I am bare in a mist-mad forest.
Only the moon shows me love.

Winter will crush me: tiny arms, pale feet,
tongue of rust. I have a thousand visions:

you ironing an enormous dress; eating
chocolate and honey, sausage

and a luscious peach; the sun drunk
and easy; spring blowing raw sky

and storm scream; someone running.
You cry, Go, go. Take them, will you?

He does, along the sea road with its
stopped ship fast asleep. In this place

of elaborate beauty, it is late autumn
and mostly quiet, except when

the heaven-born wind wags and flaps
the branch he left tied

to a sere white ash. Silence itself is strategy,
a signed language,

gorgeous, fluid in the hands
of those who learned it in childhood.

You know we were never meant
to live here, only to learn relinquished,

forsworn, to grasp with wet hands the cold
metal of life, then find a way to let go.

Copyright © 2003 Mary Jo Bang All rights reserved
from The Poets' Grimm, edited by Jeanne Marie Beaumont & Claudia Carlson
Story Line Press
and Apology For Want (University Press of New England, 1997).
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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