Poem of the Week: May 13th, 2014

Marjorie Saiser’s “Draw What Is There” can be found in Vol. 3, Issue 1 of burntdistrict. Saiser has received several Nebraska Books Awards, the Vreelands Award, and the Leo Love Award. More of her work can be found in her novel in poems, Losing the Ring in the River (University of New Mexico Press, 2013).

By Marjorie Saiser

In art class, the instructor says
Draw your hand-not an

idea of hand but what is really there.
My pencil scratches over paper,

telling truth. Wrinkles.
Crookedness and bulges.

I let the ring fall to the side,
as it often does, let the tunneling

veins go where they have to go,
but left out is this:

the day I pulled your hair,
my son,

when you broke something.
It was too much, all of it.

Not the green plastic
forgettable trifle you broke;

I mean my work, my union with your father.
It was too much and it was too little

and there you were, young and perfect
and close by my hand. You say

you don’t remember
so I don’t mention it again

but I remember and
have not let it go.

Let me turn my hand over, watch
the ends of the fingers catch light,

notice that knuckles are only creases
over the bones that do the work.

Let me see what is
in front of me, opening and closing.

Let what I did and failed to do
drop like a leaf from my hand.

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