blackbird online journal Spring 2008  Vol. 7  No. 1


Betty Adcock
M.C. Allan
Andrew Allport
Adam Chiles
Ramola D
Jennifer Kwon Dobbs
Matt Donovan
Todd Fredson
Henry Hart
Jeanne Larsen
Patrick Lawler
Larry Levis
Louise Mathias
Khaled Mattawa
Iman Mersal
Irene McKinney
Edie Rhoads
Ron Smith
Gerald Stern
Allison Titus
Sarah Vap
Bruce Weigl
Jonathan Weinert
Joe Wilkins
Terri Witek


Letter Home to Madras

The first thin flurries of Virginia snow
this season came through the oak, white,
like the opened pages of a letter
I write, rewrite, trying to say
            I am well, I am without
            without sounding defensive,
complacent, and I look
into the wild carousel
of movement the wet flakes
make as they tear
            out of the high oceans
of cloud and ricochet
off the red
leaves and the roof
             and the side of the house and I say
             instead I have waited so long
for the snow, the air is drowning in white.

How do I say the days
are tearing me loose from the high, tapered
branches because I struggle between
this multiple adjunct
life I live and my need to walk
into the calm rigors of my own choosing:
                                   I want
another kind of living. It is not enough
that the snow hits the concrete
and disappears, fingers
of damp on the sill. How do I say

I travel so much I am
in constant exile from the place
I live in,
            even now, the language I speak
changes. Not enough that the sky
            empties its grey in less
than an hour, while I sit,

I dream of the white incessant falling, not
like wedding rice, scattered, showered, but
streams, continuous. How do I say I came, wanting,
            across the oceans, and I live,
            wanting, because each world
is like the one before it: America offers
its own exclusions. How do I say
what I want to say without the rupture
of distance splitting the words untenderly
open between us. I say:
            what kind of weather
are you having?

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