Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting Caught Up on My Reading

Stuck here waiting at the hospital--my mom had surgery two weeks ago and has been here ever since. She's fine, but had to have another surgical procedure today, so she'll be here for a little while longer. A lot of waiting goes on around here, it seems. Different people every day. I'm sure there's a poem in there somewhere, but I can't muster the energy to write it.

Instead, I'm using my waiting time to get caught up on my RSS feeds. I was approaching 200 unread items, so I had plenty of catching up to do. One of my favorite feeds is from Poetry Daily. The poems they send out each day are rarely by well-known poets. But they are often really good.

I was drawn to this one because it tells the tiniest slice of a story. It captures a small moment so poignantly that I find it irresistible, despite the emotional content. I also was drawn to its beginning (I've spent a lot of time in hospitals lately, although my mom is going to be fine, not so sure about the patient in the poem) and its ending, which adds a puzzle-like element to the poem. I love pieces like this--where there's some uncertainty about what's happening. I am not the kind of person that needs a poem to be clear-cut and easy to understand. In fact, I like them more when you read them and you're left with multiple possible interpretations. In my mind, this poem does exactly that. Of course, if to you it's crystal clear what's happening in the end, let me know.
Milk--By Melissa Stein

The nurse has made up the bed so crisply.
Tucked the corners' rote origami
so soundly into the aluminum frame. 
Your lips glisten, moistened with a square
of sponge. I hold your hand—weightless
thing of parchment and twig— 
no more your daughter than a seed
cast from hoof-split rattlegrass, no more than
an asterisk sprung from thistle, caught, wished upon, 
let go. I inhale the antiseptic scent of bay,
of balsam. Rooted here, in this cheap plastic chair,
as if I'll miss something, 
as if my missing it would matter.

Please read the rest of the poem to check out the ending. I'm going to go finish getting caught up

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