Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Poetry Primer Passage

Poetry Primer Passage



The poem looks ordinary enough, at first, dark-haired,

green-eyed, cheerful smile.  Her gingham dress,

a classical shirtwaist with red, heart-shaped pockets,

flatters her slender young figure.  She pushes her glasses

down on her nose and peers over them at you, holding a primer.


But when you glance away, behind you, toward where

you came from, a hooded cape flutters in your peripheral vision,

a pale skull with dark eye sockets winks in and out of sight,

and bony word-fingers reach toward your face.  When you turn

back, the poem smiles again.  Sweetly.  Blushing slightly.


The primer title touches the curve of the poem's breast,

the title faces away from you, but somehow you know

what it says.  Everything has led you to this:  A Poet's Primer

of Death.  Kindly and with quiet compassion, the poem smiles

at you.  You want to turn away; you want to run,


but not many words remain, and you feel compelled

to read on.  The poem sweeps her arm toward you, indicates

a seat in her classroom.  When she leans over you and opens

the pages of her book on the desk before you, it is a door

that opens, or door of words, light and darkness.


The poem offers you her hand, and together,

surrounded by these words, you walk through,

leaving your crumpled body behind on the other side.       



Mary Stebbins Taitt

090527-0938-1b(2), 090527-0918-1st


What kind of perfume is she wearing?  What do you smell or taste when the door opens?  What does her skin feel like when she touches you?


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