Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Poems I Admire #81


They go to the dark, unloved places: into buildings
where no one lives, where windows have broken
and walls have fallen and all the furniture
is full of birds. Secrets are at the bottom

of each tea cup, at the bottom of the ocean
where fish swim through their ruined remains.
Secrets are in hospitals where doctors
hide them in the sleeves of their white coats,

write them sometimes in files that will be forgotten.
There are secrets in desks and curtains, secrets
in trees and secrets in the uncombed hair
of young girls. There are secrets in blood

which even microscopes cannot find, secrets
in the dens of foxes and the seeds
of apples. There are secrets on abandoned
playgrounds where the swings move

back and forth without children or wind.
Some secrets are alive and they flutter in closets,
nibble television cords, steal crumbs. But others
are buried deeply in cemeteries

and safe deposit boxes and require no air.
Wine turns red with secrets; dresses carry them
in their skirts. I have seen a secret coiled
like a snake at the center of a dinner party;

I have walked through parks where they fell
around me like leaves. I have kept them,
which is not as easy as it sounds: some howl
at night, transformed by the presence of the moon.

Some breathe fire and place the village in danger.
Some get caught in my throat like a bone,
and I must pretend I am not choking...

From Faith's collection Moving the Piano (SFA University Press)

Faith Shearin's books of poetry include: The Owl Question (May Swenson Award), Moving the Piano (SFA University Press), Telling the Bees (SFA University Press), Orpheus, Turning (Dogfish Head Poetry Prize), Darwin's Daughter (SFA University Press), and Lost Language (Press 53). She has received awards from Yaddo, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Recent work has been read aloud on The Writer's Almanac and included in American Life in Poetry.

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