- Corrective Lenses, and: Eleven Years After, and: Everything Golden Is Spilled
I miss my astigmatism, cubist distortionthat tells a more complex truth—visionunprefixed by "re" sharperthan vision corrected, waterin cataract fracturing light into rainbows—how thought locks up when boxedinto a square, white page.I miss my first drafts, early years unglossedby marginalia. Now, let's triangulate:start with what Mom taught meabout right (white beforeLabor Day) and wrong (white after).Add in Dad's lesson, how to livea whole lifetime in hock. Then,the blind luck of a train that arrivedto carry me off from the wrong sideof the tracks. Measure the distancefrom home to no money dividedby winning the marrying-well lottery.There's Lasik and other high-tech fixes,peeling layers like a sweet onion.Give us a glass eye or two, to spareothers the sight of dead eyes, dead eyes,dead eyes—Orphan Annie, Joe Palooka,their Basilisk gaze—can you believethose guys were meant to be funny?In second sight, the eyes speak in tongues.That goes with blind faith, and the blindleading the blind along a long limbalready beginning to bow. And below, [End Page 79]
empty boots and bones siftingsand in an endless desert, all of whichwould be less of a problemif only our empty-eyed guides were notalso deaf to the sounds of any protest,and to the world's suffering, numb.
Eleven Years After
I braided rosemary and lavenderwith sage, ground
cinnamon and cloves with allspiceand myrrh, unwound
the length of shining linen, dippedits folds in water swooned
with jasmine and lemongrass. Butwhen I reached down
for your kite-weight, to bind your lightbundle of bones with all
that was sacred, I found only flown ash;long before I began to look
for you, Mama, you were washedof color and scent, already gone. [End Page 80]
Everything Golden Is Spilled
I once had a child who would readthe stars or sow corn. Teach school.
Build bridges, grow into a manloving a woman, a child of his own.
He was born and his hour was silver,new moonlight strewn
on dark ground. Pearls, seeds, wide banksof clouds. His bright hair.
His damp, sleeping lap-weight, his scalp'syolky chuff, the tug
that began at my nipple and drew onsomeplace deeper,
the universe contracted to pull of suckand glow. Grain,
drops of rain, dreams. His years, for a time,ripened like wheat
toward a great, gold, slanting, weightedwith seed.
When did the arc bend past looking forward?When did the fruit hollow
into chaff? When did my child lose his holdon his last word? [End Page 81]
I want that bud of boy back, packedwith what might yet bloom,
each sepal spiraled, sealed, and nothing,nothing revealed.
Each birth is worth its weight in loss, yes,of course; still,
I'd give every grain to hold him again—his petal hand
on my neck, his eyes two blue plates tippedto the sun—light,
light all around us—mote moments gilded,giving glitter
to dust. One slip of grip, and the seasonhas turned. All gone,
all drained down to nothing; we are stillin it, but the world has grown old.
Rebecca Foust's book, All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song, won the Many Mountains Moving Book Prize and was a finalist for the 2012 Poet's and Paterson prizes. God, Seed won the 2011 Foreword Book of the Year Award, and her new manuscript was shortlisted for the 2012 Kathryn A. Morton Prize. Recent poems are in Hudson Review, Notre Dame Review, Sewanee Review, Woman's Review of Books, and elsewhere.