|Anne Shaw [University of Arizona]|
from Anne Shaw's Dido in Winter:
How strangely things unmoor themselves.
For instance, overhead: shadow of a bird
without a bird. As paint peels back
from the porch front, cloud-thread
raveled out against the blue. How my body
craves extinction. Yours, a tenderness.
On top of or below. As the preposition
wanders from its noun. The lip
and its restriction. You, the fricative angel
in my bed. How a bulb turns on
in the farmhouse: a private
radiance. And the body's rapt attention,
apparent slips of tongue. Some truths
I kidnap back into the dark. My realm
of unbecoming, kingdom of shatter and thrust. Fields
in the side view plated now with water over loam.
The little clatter the mind makes, and each
peculiar crevice of a heart. Such beds of flood
and thistle: their many endings, turnings,
passings-through. Then all my slick retractions
flattering a passage through the skull. There is luck
and luck's remission, there are freckled hands
on locks, tallow-meshes hanging in the trees. And the bees
relentless, hungry now, summer or its semblance
bent in sad arrival, creeping charlie tiny in the lawn —
Alone on Sunday afternoon, I watch the dog's paws twitching as he sleeps.
His dream turns like a newsreel, simple chase
between snapped branches, lurching toward a sky,
the path irrelevant, his prey a prayer, the blue flame of his being
flared to high. Call it small recurrent animal, this dream
that all dogs dream, like that relentless dream of ropes and stays
in which I turn my body like a filmstrip
to the light. Yes, pin me
to the window, watch me jerk
from frame to animated frame. Each small, belabored increment. Each day
a pink sun moving south against the wall
glides through the strictures of winter. The camera
lucida or obscura. Here are my lumpy socks, my unmade bed. No tragedy
in these particulars. But friends, when I sit at your table
there's a voice in me that says Give
up. Give up. It pumps along like a half-dead frog.
Ladies and gentlemen, it says, this train has left the station. Wave
to your friends on the platform. You may begin
to panic at any time.