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Noon Edition

Head on Arms on Table

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"If you exist, then you are loved / by existence."
- Louise Erdrich, "Advice to Myself #2: Resistance"

Denise Breeden-Ost wrote her first poem—a riddle about a Crock-Pot—while walking home from kindergarten. A few decades later, her first novel, Making It All Right, can be found at Clockflower Press. Denise lives on a ridgetop near Bloomington, Indiana with a small family, a large garden, and innumerable trees.

Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Denise, what poems have you brought for us today?

 

Head on Arms on Table

 

It might look like despair. No-one is looking.

Eyes closed on a day of too much light,

darkness cradles her forehead

like the palm of her dad's hand.

 

In the silence between how to make things right

and what to make for supper,

her ribcage opens, effortless

as that sweetest breath at the edge of sleep.

 

Under the cool oak of the table,

through pine floor and basement rock,

the whole weight of the Earth

bears gently, steadily upward.

 

 

 

The Lake Above

 

Maybe we could dive down into up,

haul out under that moon, hear the crickets

in those wavering black trees.

 

What if we already did?

Maybe we forgot, as our inner gravity righted itself

--the way the adults don't play anymore,

the way we feel ourselves forgetting how to pretend.

 

Heads tipped back,

we hang on the edge of belief until our necks ache.

When we stand up, we stand down,

walk home on bare feet

twinned through the warm earth.

 

Later, I'll peer into puddles like mirrors,

wondering why I expect to see you there.

 

 

Ritual

 

When you are ready, return--

you whose hands blessed her last days,

who cannot quite believe she is gone.

Come again to her house and sweep out the dust,

her lost hair and skin resting light on every surface.

Scour her last bath from the tub,

shake her footprints from the rugs.

Take each thing from where she always kept it.

Set all her empty shoes side by side

around the bedroom baseboard.

Pry from the walls the small brass nails

where she hung perfect sand dollars.

Dump the forks, upside down, in the spoons place.

 

Everything.

Every   

thing

must be moved.

 

Then eat at her table,

something crisp and hot to wake you up.

Look around, and see what your eyes tell you:

That these things have lost their names.

That this house has forgotten its stories.

That no-one lives here anymore.

 


September Night

 

What is brittle grows soft in the rain,

lies down under the dark sky.

Already the leaves smell like earth--

 

Earth, where the tiny ones uncurl again,

open their gentle claws

to build the world out of the world.

 

Lie down.  Under the dark sky

the tiny ones will taste your skin.

 

Don't be afraid.

Already they are building the world

out of you.

 

You've been listening to the poetry of Denise Breeden-Ost on the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.

Denise Breeden-Ost

(Courtesy of the poet)

"If you exist, then you are loved / by existence." 
- Louise Erdrich, "Advice to Myself #2: Resistance"

Denise Breeden-Ost wrote her first poem—a riddle about a Crock-Pot—while walking home from kindergarten. A few decades later, her first novel, Making It All Right, can be found at Clockflower Press. Denise lives on a ridgetop near Bloomington, Indiana with a small family, a large garden, and innumerable trees.

On this edition of the Poets Weave, Denise reads "Head on Arms on Table," "The Lake Above," "Ritual," and "September Night."

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