Thursday, October 13, 2005

Absence
Talking to the children's absence, you imagine them
canoeing or sitting before a fire, sparks

arcing like imitation stars. There's so much to say,
even in the unrelenting heat, the sun

balanced overhead while you collect facts for them
as if they can hear you: how the barracuda's jaw

can spread so wide then thrash and rip into anything,
how bees can't find their hive if it's moved

more than a few inches, how your own house settles
fraction by fraction into clay and river stone,

and dust is alive though you sweep it into piles
meaning the desert is a guest in the corner

of your room, meaning your feet keep stirring clouds
of creatures and you pass over animal and plant

and never feel the burden, or do feel the burden and bend
like a sapling, like a heavy flower brushing

the ground. This is what separation trains you for.
You as an envelope releasing them, you ripping

the cord, you with your stains on them, the ones
you need ten hundred mirrors

to see. The old goddess of tether and straw, the one
who makes you to lie down, to be crushed

till you come out oil of fish, oil of granite, come out
ash and live in the fine grit under their feet,

who licked you alive and left the taste in your own mouth,
your own love: sand, ground tooth, spider,

sawdust, hair, and adoration turned to powder,
and absence teaching its teaching and all

you cannot say, you'll never say, swallowed, a coating
inside lungs and all passageways, all orifices being

the openings of absence, and what you want to say turns
to air, but you try your prayer once more: old goddess

of rain, wash us with your silent tongue as if
we were always being born, just born, slick

and stunned, with our legs kicking

Anne Marie Macari
Gloryland
Alice James Books

The speaker in this poems talks about how there is so much that she wants to give to children, and in their absence thinks about it. She wants to give something to the child that he or she can never lose, knowledge. Knowledge of the little things that make the world so interesting, the kind of things that adults are generally to busy to pick up on, to go out and learn, the kind of information that makes you look at the world with a little more wonder. Yet in her poem there are no children, in fact, it is the absence of children that cause the speaker to become that child, to learn the kinds of things one does in her youth. She even goes back and reacts herself going through a very birth-like experience.

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