Because by Grace Schulman
MARGINALIA • SKIP TO THE POEM
Another night of falling asleep at my desk. This time I woke up in tears, the last wisps of something terrible fading as soon as I go back to my body, where it was sitting anchored to this world. Try as I might, I can’t get it back, and I can’t explain to myself why I wanted to. Was it a memory or a portent?
Let’s think about good things, I tell myself, wanting to shake off the feeling—you know, that thing that creeps on your chest when you discover the meat’s gone foul or had an accidental encounter with a dreadful person on your way home. Hydrangeas, I think. Blue ones. Perfectly grilled Hungarian sausages. The smell of a new book when you first crack it open. A soft yellow blanket.
It’s been more than an hour now. I would like to tell you that I almost failed, I almost bailed, I almost thought, shit it’s going to be one of those awful days is it. But then I suppose I sat here as long as I could until the sunrise arrived, and I suppose I thought, it was just a bad dream, it’s going to be alright.
Because, in a wounded universe, the tufts
of grass still glisten, the first daffodil
shoots up through ice-melt, and a red-tailed hawk
perches on a cathedral spire; and because
children toss a fire-red ball in the yard
where a schoolhouse façade was scarred by vandals,
and joggers still circle a dry reservoir;
because a rainbow flaunts its painted ribbons
and slips them somewhere underneath the earth;
because in a smoky bar the trombone blares
louder than street sirens, because those
who can no longer speak of pain are singing;
and when on this wide meadow in the park
a full moon still outshines the city lights,
and on returning home, below the North Star,
I see new bricks-and-glass where the Towers fell;
and I remember my lover’s calloused hand
soften in my hand while crab apple blossoms
showered our laps, and a yellow rose
opened with its satellites of orange buds,
because I cannot lose the injured world
without losing the world, I’ll have to praise it.
[expand title=”Endnotes” tag=”h6″ expanded=”true”]
This poem appeared in The Marble Bed by Grace Schulman, published by Turtle Point Press, 2020. Shared here with profound gratitude.
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