Thursday, December 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson!

To Emily: In honor of our shared birthday, I am once again posting my poem for you (although without the former last stanza). 

Photo by Jari Ruusunen
Carving Words into Wood

Living In Your Shadow

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow,
forbidden to flatter myself or flounce my dress, ink-
stained cheeks force isolation, denied
a paperless life, required to sit with legs
held tight, be a lady, hands designed
to shovel gritty pain from each
word, uncover gassy explosions,
reveal bulbous traits, onions I pull up from mossy
carpeting in my lived-in room.

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow,
locked inside dusty dictionary, tossing words back
and forth, Walt Whitman sitting on opposite page, pencil
behind his perceptive brow, relax, let the words come
as they may, be what they want, no ulterior
meanings, deliver them to the world.

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow,
my feet, a lamp base, my eyes the switch, hands
dangling down, tendrils of a spying plant
that reads each word, wavering in the windstorm
caused by this game of catch
with vocabulary.

* * * * *

1 comment:

  1. Your poetry turns me on more than anything Emily Dickinson ever wrote. Get out of her shadow, into your own light.