makes me uneasy and superstitious, so instead I read books
where people understand purposes and goodness,
and am full of wonder. Some days, especially, I know
how impossible it is that heaven exists; I unfurl on the couch
like a fed snake and won't leave the house
until the day is inhaled back into its sea.
As a child, my imagined heaven revealed how basic
were my wants: a red porch littered with projects,
many animals, benign accidents to be tidied;
all movement like ice skating and everyone about twenty.
If there were a heaven we would be given a glimpse of it
once in a while, as we stumble over memories—
on a long drive, a flash comes and we try to reel it back—
wasn't that a dream? Where was that? What a marvel,
how terrible—to have nearly lost that game, that trip,
the buttons on that dress, the grief of that cold water
on that early May morning; his room without pictures,
her jewelry box, that bowl of oranges. I can do nothing
so I put myself in the old heaven, sprawled out
on the red floor. I am youngish, the dog is with me,
I can whistle and do, having left behind this life
in New Hampshire with the car and children.
AGNI Issue 75
Copyright © 2012 by Alison Powell
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission