All Poetry is Addressed to an Eternal Thou
Lea C. Deschenes
When you beckoned, I stretched out
like a trampoline, a tympanic membrane
parsing the wind, a curtain that lets
light permeate the room all through its length.
I became an extension, a reach, a ring
of open palms, a prayer, an arc
jump spanning poles. I became
so much of a yellow screen door
with the afternoon scent of cooling pie
I forgot the words “burgle”, and “vandal”
and “sever”. I lost all my textbooks
on Zeno and Stoics and found
the fines strictly enforced:
all my apples for teacher thrown
back at my head.
How does one counter indifference?
I once carried knives for this purpose,
or I counted on friends, or I set
myself on fire and narrated
the patterns of smoke.
When I tried to be whole,
when I dressed my burns,
when I stopped believing pain
was a constant and omnipresent god
I became the crab at the lip of the bucket.
I have been gone all this time
searching for a way back to you:
a path to kite a view of sky
over low-hung squalls, to find an ear
carved from cloud, but I still
don’t want a god and flinch
at eye contact. My body
enforces dumb lessons,
so accustomed to injury
it beats itself. The scar under my tongue
pulls every word I speak
back into my mouth
before it’s sounded.
I was the Adam Frankenstein shunned
still attempting to appease its creator’s arrogance.
Love wants nothing more than to be useful.
Herein lie all my omissions:
quick segues, deleted questions,
claims that everything is fine—
every sharp I’ve swallowed
lest my edges inconvenience.
Forgive my lack of expertise,
my love’s mouse-startle and skitter,
its tender multitude and propensity
to survive in the walls no matter
how many traps snap its neck.
Allow that it must exist, and breathe
from root to crown, and lean
away from its bad side
when it aches in the rain.
Allow it sunlight where it finds it.
Allow it food and air and idiosyncratic sense of style.
Allow it raucous hubbub, intimate whimper,
and all varieties of audible between
with no need for anyone’s permission.
Forgive me, but I have started
speaking again, and despite it all
you are still beautiful.
I still want to tell you how soon,
anticipation will thaw and forsythia
burst into strengthening sun, how the mute swans
do nothing but bully and hiss. I still want
to tell you that even feckless mourning
doves deserve pity for their crow-eaten eggs.
Some knots do not call for the sword.
This heart is one.
Lea C. Deschenes is the Creative Director of Damfino Press, LLC., and has been writing and performing poetry for over twenty years. She is the author of full-length collections The Constant Velocity of Trains (Write Bloody Publishing) and Crocus (forthcoming on Damfino Press), and was co-editor of the anthology Knocking at the Door. Her work has been published in Spillway, Pearl, Mas Tequila Review and elsewhere. She lives, writes, and typesets stanza breaks in Worcester, MA while working with Damfino, Radius, Best Indie Lit New England and Trio House Press. She once found a five-leaf clover during a solar eclipse.