By Judith Minty
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Additional resources for Dancing the fault: poems
We all tremble for somethingthe hand to reach into the slop pail, a letter, the telephone to ringour morning nourishment. Stretching out in these rooms, I sense the skin of their lives. Walls don't keep secrets. Each breath that seeps from our lungs leaves a thread clinging to plaster or fabric, a chorus of whispers humming. The monstrous shadow rises and falls without the body, and we long for them to join again. In this half-light, dark wings burst open, the maple scratches at the window. But even a wolf marks territory, even she sets her teeth, lets no one beyond.
What will we give in this parting? Love bite on the thigh, wing of an owl, your grandmother's hair woven into a chain, this blue stone shaped like a heart. Do you remember this torrent, now in your white silence (puff of breath, crunch and creak of boot on snow)? Do you recall this fury of water rising, water falling, the surge and rush, the flow, this awful thrust? Nothing here is white. The ocean casts up timber in its foam as if to toss the tree roots back to land again. The earth gives up.
They boast that a day's drive south forsythia and crocus explode with color. But the old ones are restless. They tell the tales over again, even as the ground turns white and lonely arms of coats stretch out from their hangers. Page 23 II LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTERS Page 25 Letters to My Daughters 1 Your great-grandfather dreamed that his son would be an engineer, the old man, the blacksmith with square hands. In the forties in Detroit, I learned to play the violin. So did my father when he was a boy in Ishpeming.