The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday

By Melissa Kwasny

Voices from the path through nettles
Come to us on your hands
Alone with your lamp
Only your hand to read
    —Paul Celan

Against me: all of it, the ash in my soup,
the straw-like hem of my sleeves.
The busy satellites, like mice hunting grain,
keep changing direction.

August, and I try to sleep under stars
that starch and thicken
while the day-air shakes out its wings.
I can hardly wait to tell you: I hate! I hate!

The Icelandic poppies don't last in this heat.
Their scarlet fades by afternoon.
And the polar icecaps—those immortal truths—
dribble through Canada but don’t reach here.

Helicopters bleat as they hover over the pond,
scoop up a basket for the forest thirst.
Oh, summer, my body is open-mouthed like a fish.
The hours on the bird clock sound shrill.

Lash my arthritic hands. The fire will take
my mistakes. The stones,
the stones will correct them. I only
dream that my hands are bitten by small dogs.

Nettle is the green beak that nips, and guards
the eerie swing of the low stream.
Nettle is the hard path, the one I should abide by.
Arrogance, that sting. My life is pocked with it.


Our first day back from vacation started bright and early, since Adam had his first day at the holding school where his middle school classes have moved while the building -- which was also my junior high school -- is being torn down and rebuilt. It was the first time he has ever ridden a bus to school, though apparently that was entertaining for him since one of his good friends has moved into the neighborhood so he had a bunch of people to ride with. Daniel slept late, though he was up by the time Adam got home before noon since the orientation was only half a day. I was going to take them to Bagel City but Adam wanted to go play with his friends, so he did that while Daniel went to the pool for a bit, and I folded laundry.

A sandpiper enjoys the morning tidal deposits, which included lots of small crabs.

This blue crab lives in Dough's Creek in Roanoke near where the Elizabeth II is docked.

This fiddler crab lives in Roanoke as well, in the tidal marsh near the settlement site.

Canada geese have apparently stopped migrating and spend summers as well as winters in the Outer Banks. These geese are eating grass at the foot of the Wright Brothers Memorial.

A laughing gull flies over the dunes...

...and pelicans fly over the Atlantic.

In the evening, toads appear near the marshes to eat insects...

...and ghost crabs come out of their holes in the sand on the beach.

In the evening we started watching season three of Due South -- to "I Coulda Been a Defendant" -- Ray K had me at "I got nothing against Canadians except for the time they won the World Series." ("Two times," Fraser has to reply) and really had me by the time he explained what happened during the bank robbery. I miss Ray V and think they should all get a house by the sea together (or, fine, a cabin in the Yukon) but I totally see what people see in Ray K. Those of you who feel it necessary to unfriend me because of this may...oh wait, most of you have already done so for some other fannish sin!

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