You with the Crack Running Through You by Kim Addonizio
MARGINALIA • SKIP TO THE POEM
My dog has died.
It’s all debris, isn’t it, the fragments of our lives. The way they scatter to the wind like ashes. Or gather at the corners of the room like falling hair and dust. Or perhaps something like the spoonful of detritus fallen at the bottom of a soup bowl. Somewhere in there, the broken bits of the past year. The broken bits of a past self.
I taste salt in my coffee before I realise I am crying. Does she know that I loved her? That I didn’t leave to leave her behind?
It’s just a dog, you might say. Given everything that’s happened in the world, what is a dog in the face of everyone’s collective grief. Let me tell you: once I had to run from my mother, knife in her hand. I went to my hiding place and made myself very small, half-wishing I’d disappear and half-wishing I’d be found and cut up so it would end. She came then, my dear Sam, and I wrapped my arms around her body and listened to her heart beat until I was no longer afraid. Let me tell you: nights I would sit weeping outside looking at the moon, wondering if I’ll ever escape—she would sit at my feet as if to say: you will.
Farewell, sweet creature. I hope you understand that I had to go so I can live, and that I loved you deeply with all my heart. Run, now, to where I can’t follow. I know I can’t hold you forever.
You with the Crack Running Through You
I can seep in, I can dry clear.
And yes it would still be there.
And no I couldn’t hold you forever.
But isn’t it drafty at night,
alone in that canyon
with the wind of the mind
dragging its debris—
I wanted to put
my mouth on you
and draw out whatever toxin…
—but I understand. There are limits
to love. Here is a flower
that needs no water.
It can grow anywhere,
nourished on nothing.
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This poem appeared in Lucifer at the Starlite: Poems by Kim Addonizio, published by W.W. Norton & Co., 2009. Shared here with profound gratitude.
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