We’ve all known those transfixed
a moment. The girl, so golden in fifth
grade, dulls out, bragging of being a local
photo-shop manager by faded sixteen.
More than mere accident; some moment
when time itself seems to conspire
on the self’s behalf. A harried mother
grows perceptive and poised, one semester
of English assignments, then lapses back
into a lifetime of self-depreciatory jokesâ€“
that she could have been a “good Mexican”
with her love of blue trim and pink light switches.
Some moment when love moves beyond
its usual allotments, when the air seems
full of species of affection that no one
has yet named, when a gesture or a word seems
to reach invisibly, deeply enough to quiet
the palpitating heart, when the teacher
trembles for the student on a motorcycle,
when the murderer lies down in the mercy
of words, when the boy who was thought
to be mute steps forth and speaks.
Some halting step, all we know of miracle,
a moment so fleetingly gone, briefly
elastic that then grows brittle and snaps,
as what tried to climb up the back stairs
of heaven’s mansion falls back, caught
on the trellis, hemmed and hawed, snagged
and stunted to the gravity field, that
unforgiving inertia which we call “ourselves.”
About the AuthorRebecca Seiferle is the Editor/Publisher of The Drunken Boat. Her third poetry collection, Bitters, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon this Fall. Poems from the collection have appeared or are forthcoming in Partisan Review, Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, etc. Rebecca's last book, The Music We Dance To (Sheep Meadow 1999) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The title poem won the Hemley Award from the Poetry Society of America, and another poem was published in Best American Poetry 2000. Her first book, The Ripped-Out Seam, won the Writers' Exchange Award and the Bogin Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her translation of Vallejo's Trilce was the only finalist for the 1992 PenWest Translation Award.