I wrote a play, out cold in urgent care. Heated blankets toweling
my sweated hair. When staged, the actress playing Mother held
a wicker broom for acts two and three, with which she beat and
beat the rug — a heavy tapestry rolled across the deck. It jumped
with fleas — a cast of tiny specks that leapt with urgent hunger
as she swept. Lucidly, I slept. I always do, when in duress (no
escape from the world of the page). So I wondered how I would
create the effect on stage — what props and practical effects —
and who would clean up the mess?
I quit theatre / because it spoiled other / darknesses for me.
I walk across the wide array of teeming arrow barns. A hundred
teeming prefab barns with silver hoop-house roofs. Inside, a
hundred-thousand horses, decommissioned for the evening of
their gleaming, crib their crooked teeth against their stalls. And
then, a docent wind, and I’m standing in the centriole. Error
garden. Its treasure guarded by a foal.
I sleep like sleep is / water. Sleeping lugged around / in steel
What I didn’t know grew over what I knew. Like sober news
from home, it sobered me. It touched down like a flea of doubt
touched down on me. And bit. So suddenly, like tardy students
at the door, a little sadness on their faces as they make their plea.
My grace, a sham, a fraying pillowcase.
Helicopter seeds. / Annunciation amid / Iowa weather.
Difficulty is sacred. Even this thought. Like a yawn that fights
its way out from the cochlea. Private as a runny nose. The word
“Say” that begins Kay Ryan’s seminal poem: “Say when rain /
cannot make / you more wet.” “Say” its own unit of meaning
until “when” arrives, and the unit is transformed. “Say when” is
then tripled by “rain.” Tripled by the rain — which rhymes with
the poet’s name.
Rhyme is so public. / Weeping openly / in a crowded latitude.