For Poetry

For being able to rely on poets to find me words when I am sorely lacking them. For learning anew each time with a powerful poem that when we put experiences into words and test them for approximation, we let go of the need for descriptive sense made on the surface in order to embrace a deeper experiential, imagistic sense that is hard to put in words.

Ending the Estrangement

By ROSS GAY

from my mother’s sadness, which was,

to me, unbearable, until,

it felt to me

not like what I thought it felt like

to her, and so felt inside myself — like death,

like dying, which I would almost

have rather done, though adding to her sadness

would rather die than do —

but, by sitting still, like what, in fact, it was —

a form of gratitude

which when last it came

drifted like a meadow lit by torches

of cardinal flower, one of whose crimson blooms,

when a hummingbird hovered nearby,

I slipped into my mouth

thereby coaxing the bird

to scrawl on my tongue

its heart’s frenzy, its fleet

nectar-questing song,

with whom, with you, dear mother,

I now sing along.

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