The First Person
I am not the I of my poem. . . The poet invents a being,
and that being. . .stands before the world, naked and feeling.
Who is this I who loves you, never having
glimpsed you in any clearing of the fog,
who returns to me full of words
and feeling, drawn up from a mysterious realm?
Who arrives with a wounded hand, a scar full
of flowers, a body filling up with black water, and falls
into the white skin of the birch—that white skin
of my childhood that I was always trying to carve
into paper, to write upon with words. Is it
even “me” at all? For what does it have to do
with the sweltering room that the tiny fan tries
to keep cool or with the dogs that howl
at all hours, or with the fury of the neighbors
slamming their doors? Yet it seems more truly
me, how will I follow, who will I be, now
that I’m no more than a shadow? how can I
turn away from what it tells me: this I
who believes it can cross any distance or hear
the whispers of god flying along the farthest
trajectories of everything that’s lost, who fingers
the pulse of those who have died, who finds
its face in a well of dark water, and who loves
you and loves you as if all the beauty of the world
has lain down in your arms.
Copyright © 2004 REbecca Seiferle.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The Black Dress