Poem of the Month

By Mary Dalton

Published on January 6, 2014

Indeed you miss the point, my friend. It does
stand stubbornly guarding
mile after mile of soft and useless dust

and wind out of the north with a low whine
and the lying mouth of the news—
the bitch!—the words and weather both are cutting.

Press of the floor coming up through you and
gull-cries, the all-around
dawn spills its ghostly water.

Dingle-dong, the dead bells go,
are now here with you, is this clear?
Trashing the alligator man-trap handbags.

Dominating every harbour.
You know people there. Their faces are photographs;
and a tense, musty, unignorable silence.

Who knows the place the poster advertises?
White bones tumble from it;
hand paws the wall to reach the chilly switch.

Descending the map of damp
are enormous messages, a looming mastery—
and a hundred islands.

What light trapped in a clenched sky
to learn the language of what’s done and said
when there is so much wind?

The congregation never imagined,
the room in sudden stasis—
the wing of a gust.

The jukebox music takes you back;
braver than lipstick,
its threads the colour of cantaloupe and cherry.

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