By CONSTANCE MERRITT
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Extra info for A Protocol for Touch (Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, 7)
I am afraid of flying And a great distance from the sea. Still I must not stay here Swilling beer like bad water And dreaming of the sea. Outside the air is new, And I breathe without trying The right way, from deep inside, That makes the belly warm. The sidewalk is cool beneath me, And there is comfort in this wall That marks outside from in. An angel comes to me, And we dance outside, inside Each other's arms to music Far away but close enough to feel. We will never be close enough Although we are too close For dancing, comfort, breathing.
It is also hard to say whether hers is the silence of before speaking or after. Almost as hard as saying nothing. Shall I and thy Mother and thy brethren indeed come To bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? It is loneliness that bows her head, that breaks Her free from silence's sweet spell, spilling Her voice onto the brittle air, breathless In its rush: green of sea, pine, forest, spring; Blue of midnight, cerulean, cornflower; Sky, navy, cadet, and royal blue; blue Page 5 Violet, turquoise, aquamarine; teal blue, Blue green, periwinkle; burnt and raw Sienna, bittersweet, brick and in- Dian red, goldenrod and thistle, white.
He checks that off. He scrubs her breasts and face Clean of paints and oils in search of freckles and moles, An array of imperfections held as marks Of beauty by a superstitious age, whose day had passed. Her hair, he parts strand by strand with a mirrored, fine-toothed comb. ) fair hands. The public health inspector's nostrils flare. Bring him a knife, posthaste. The family complies, But where the wart had been is now a scar, And consequently the finger has to go, And next the hand, and next the arm, the whole Side of the body, and the remaining upper half, And the lower quarter, and what good is the head all by itself?
A Protocol for Touch (Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, 7) by CONSTANCE MERRITT