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Because by Grace Schulman


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.

Grace Schulman

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.

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This poem appeared in The Marble Bed by Grace Schulman, published by Turtle Point Press, 2020. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Grace SchulmanFind books by this poet • Or view my library 

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