V3:E10 Oct. 2001
TRYING TO RAISE THE DEAD
Look at me. Iím standing on a deck
in the middle of Oregon. There are
friends inside the house. Itís not my
house, you donít know them.
Theyíre drinking and singing
and playing guitars. You love
this song, remember, "Ophelia,"
Boards on the windows, mail
by the door. Iím whispering
so they wonít think Iím crazy.
They donít know me that well.
Where are you now? I feel stupid.
Iím talking to trees, to leaves
swarming on the black air, stars
blinking in and out of heart-
shaped shadows, to the moon, half-
lit and barren, stuck like an axe
between the branches. What are you
now? Air? Mist? Dust? Light?
What? Give me something. I have
to know where to send my voice.
A direction. An object. My love, it needs
a place to rest. Say anything. Iím listening.
Iím ready to believe. Even lies, I donít care.
Say burning bush. Say stone. Theyíve
stopped singing now and I really should go.
So tell me, quickly. Itís April. Iím
on Spring Street. Thatís my gray car
in the driveway. Theyíre laughing
and dancing. Someoneís bound
to show up soon. Iím waving.
Give me a sign if you can see me.
Iím the only one here on my knees.
Previously Published in Smoke
Date of Birth:
January 10, 1952
Awake, What We Carry, Smoke (BOA Editions), and The PoetUs Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton)
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1990, 2001), Best American Poetry 1999, Pushcart Prize, Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award
Current | Previous
Submit | Editors
Join | Donate
Links | Contact