Poem of the Week: May 5th, 2014

What better way to celebrate the release of Volume 3, Issue 1 of burntdistrict than with a poem from our latest issue? Paula C. Lowe is the author of “Jamie Here I Am/Toe Hold/Dust,” our poem of the week. Paula is also the author of Moo (Big Yes Press, 2014). She holds a graduate degree from the University of Washington and has authored a half dozen nonfiction books.

JAMIE HERE I AM/TOE HOLD/DUST
By Paula C. Lowe

I am absent in the house
of catastrophes to come,
the house boarded up
before or after the cyclone,
the dust storm, the rise
of the tide into the second floor.

I am absent in the way that lips
leave lips, skin flaking into wind.

—Jamie asks where I’ve gone,
asks scrub trees and small listeners.

Say, I am in the lineup on Easter Island,
I am in the crushed stone under asphalt
on a road to the south, to the ever hopeful
but ever bleak south.

Say too, I am an afterthought
rinsed out of cheese cloth
from a time of milk and cows and grass,
a thought to cry, oh, stop sucking on the tits

of this planet, you empires who refuse to grow up:
inside bassinettes, playing with thin screen gadgets,
playing with buttons instead of toes.

—And that is it, Jamie, who can keep a reason
for toes when no one counts on them?

The man who lost everything steals
something from his neighbor.
The girl who lost her virginity,
searches for it on her knees.

—And that it is, Jamie, each village on the edge
of the earth has too few hands to keep bodies
from leaving their people.


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