Odd that the office would be so bright, painted in warm
shades of butter and honey, while outside the light
slammed down on fenders and on concrete posts and frozen
snowfields glazed with melt. This lockdown they call spring.
I had, God knows, no love for the grackles
mobbing the edges of the parking lot. The ice had melted
at the edges of the asphalt, and the frozen earth appeared to yield
some crumbs of seed or grass or insect carapace, yet I could not
stop watching them shoulder each other and threaten, with their
street-punk strut, bickering over privilege to pick at the hard ground.
In winter everything is winter and some must die, I thought.
I slouched in the blue eggshell chair, pulling at a thread
unraveling on my jeans and would not look up; sun hit my eyes
as voices hammered talk of consequences. All that was desired
lay frozen at my feet, lay on the other side of the wall.
I would fly through the window, scattering daggers of glass.
I would disappear in flame, leave only a shape of char.
When the world is your enemy, and speech an invitation
to open season on your body: slapped for a word, arrested for a sneer,
even silence a gesture interpreted by double agents of the mind,
give nothing away. Lock down. Hunch forward. Erase your face.
When they take you, as they will take you, away to where
they are going to take you, you'll be wound so tight you'll bounce;
you'll make a rattling noise on the ground, and whatever they break
in you, or break out of you will drag along behind, banging
and scraping, giving off long shrieks, obnoxious to their ears.
Southern Illinois University Press
Copyright © 2012 by Cynthia Huntington
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission