Monday, October 7, 2013

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield [Valencia College]

from Jane Hirschfield's Come, Thief:

Seawater Stiffens Cloth

Seawater stiffens cloth long after it's dried.
As pain after it's ended stays in the body:
A woman moves her hands oddly
because her grandfather passed through
a place he never spoke of. Making
instead the old jokes with angled fingers.
Call one thing another's name long enough,
it will answer. Call pain seawater, tree, it will answer.
Call it a tree whose shape of branches happened.
Call what branching happened a man
whose job it was to break fingers or lose his own.
Call fingers angled like branches what peel and cut apples,
to give to a girl who eats them in silence, looking.
Call her afterward tree, call her seawater angled by silence.

If Truth Is the Lure, Humans Are Fishes

Under each station of the real,
another glimmers.
And so the love of false-bottomed drawers
and the salt mines outside Krakow,
going down and down without drowning.
A man harms his wife, his child.
He says, "Here is the reason."
She says, "Here is the reason."
The child says nothing,
watching him lead away.
If truth is the lure, humans are fishes.
All the fine bones of that eaten-up story,
think about them.
Their salt-cod whiteness on whiteness.

All the Difficult Hours and Minutes

All the difficult hours and minutes
are like the salted plums in a jar.
Wrinkled, turned steeply into themselves,
they mutter something the color of shark fins to the glass.
Just so, calamity turns toward calmness.
First a jar holds the umeboshi, then the rice does.

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