Sunday, July 23, 2017

Today I read the saddest poem

Today I read the saddest poem, flipping through journals at the magazine shop. It brought tears to my eyes. I stopped breathing, and my heart stopped for an instant too.

It was so sad, I had to buy this summer reading issue of Tin House. You can't read something that sad and just put it back on the rack. Plus, there's an octopus on the cover.

The poem is "Dusk" by Tracy K Smith, just recently named US Poet Laureate. Justly so.

"Dusk" starts like this:
What woke to war in me those years
When my daughter had first grown into
A solid self-centered self? I'd watch her
Sit at the table — well, not quite sit,
More like stand on one leg while
The other knee hovered just over the chair.
She wouldn't lower herself, as if
There might be a fire, or a great black
Blizzard of waves let loose in the kitchen,
And she'd need to make her escape.
I came home and told my daughter I'd read the saddest poem, about having a teenage daughter, and she asked me if I needed a hug and I said yes.
I thought I’d have more time! I thought
My body would have taken longer going
About the inevitable feat of repelling her,

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