Jacob Hawkes: Lines of Fissure

May/June 2019, Memory, Poetry

Lines of Fissure

After “A Woman Dead in Her Forties,” Adrienne Rich

Say the rain falls thin as thunder
over vacant gardens.  Say the stars
are not just distant fires in which half-formed things
must burn 

and you’d be wrong, but 
say it anyway.  Keep your thought clenched
to a smooth syllable, pebble beneath the tongue, and I’ll choke down
what I could never tell you – that it is only on the gods
that rain can fall so lightly.  That for us, there is no garden
save for roots that clutch the flesh of corpses, and no gate
except some dog lies by it, waiting for years that trusted
apparition that will never
return home.      If this was wrong
                                          you would return home.
If this was wrong,
                                                       there would be home, still, to return to.   

I’m writing to you now, knowing that nothing I could say
could mend those failing shutters and that ruptured roof.  That there
is no single word – not even “faith” – that could account for how
impossible it would be now
to reach to you.

Remember when your grandma’s memory
was worn so smooth she could no longer recognize
her husband – how only then the terror
she’d harbored her entire life shone through?

Our gods fall nightly as some rain.
I still remember how you used to kneel
           – camera in hand –
out in the street, amid the glimmer.
As if your body could capture those small drops’ brief light
and hold the dialogue of sky and street in harmony,

As if your life even then was already just
a photo.

Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) The Rain (La pluie), 1886-1887.jpg

“The Rain (La pluie)” by Claude Monet

Jacob Hawkes lives in Ithaca, NY.  And sometimes spends a little too much time remembering.

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