®

Today's poem is by Margot Schilpp

Manifesto

I know that dying is how we escape
the rest of our lives. I think that trees
send us a message: do not believe

you are lucky. The skins of apples
and the peeler will marry; it's simply
a question of when. Believe

in mourning and carrion birds.
Look how their fleshy treasures
dissolve in the sun before their very eyes.

To love something
you must have considered what it means
to do without. You must have thought

about it—the coefficient of the body
is another body—but do not forget
that there are people who are willing

to staple your palm to your chest.
Know there are places it isn't wise to go.
Begin again if you must: there are ways

to make up for what you have been before,
the dust in the corners that collects you.
Sympathy is overrated.

Rethink how lack
becomes everyone's master, drives us
into town and spends our money.

Quiet: the trees are napping.
Water meets itself again.
We reach for the days that precede us

and the world keeps us from knowing
too much. The body loves music,
the abandoned road of it;

each day a peel
lengthens in the shadow of blossoms,
fabric weaves itself into light.

Pay attention to the patterns. They repeat—
terraces erode, groves lie fallow—
order is cognate of joy.



Copyright © 2003 Margot Schilpp All rights reserved
from The World's Last Night
Carnegie Mellon Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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