Saturday, January 20, 2007

Poem for the Day

As Aaron noted yesterday, and as I vaguely alluded, we've known one another since undergrad. He and our former teacher, Irene McKinney, are my longest-running poetry friendships. They're people whose advice and editorial suggestions I always listen to, because they're usually right, dammit.

Aaron posted a poem from Six O'Clock Mine Report and I thought I'd post a poem from her most recent book, Vivid Companion. It is, of all her books, my favorite. It's the consciousness, voice and range of interests I've known (and enjoyed) all these years--unbounded, passionate, unvarnished.


Everything resists; there is iron in the roots
and the squared-off stem, silted into its deepest chambers,

and this weed stands on the slope above the dry creekbed
and refuses nearly everything. It refuses a large and showy

flower; it tried that in another life, when it was an orchid.
It refuses to be pulled out of the ground without shrieking

like a mandrake, and it refuses to let those drops
of Mary's blood ooze from its stem. In the locust tree

above it, an army of cicadas is drilling holes
in the afternoon. Each of them hoists up a pneumatic drill

between its knees. The females have an ovipositor
like a curved iron thorn; they jackhammer their eggs

into the hide of the tree. Later the damaged branches
will fall off; but they don't care. Whatever lasts

resists until it can't. Do you know what I mean?
To someone trying to grow a life, our world casts

itself in a thick iron bark. She hones herself
almost beyond belief. Exhaustion is her flower.

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