In darkness / empirical evidence underhand / a fingertip rubs black / but not ink.
I’ve hung my light blue/evening gown on the bedroom/door so that at night,/when I turn away from you to sleep,/I still have something to look at—
Maurya Simon’s The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems 1980-2016 (Red Hen Press 2018, 218 pages) represents a life of questioning and perception, whether the scene is a backyard or a street in Bangalore or the ekphrastic poems of The Weavers or reflections on sinners and saints.
I was never bent on saving you. / It seemed to mean a kind of coddling language: / the easy I hear you, the unnatural You’re seen. / Anyhow, I couldn’t step away from drinking / long enough to seem credible
when it came to addiction.
noun / the inability to remove a person from one’s / thoughts, most often accompanied by a kind of / vibration in the chest similar to the flickering light / of fireflies over a summer meadow or minnows in / a shallow pool; their silver dartings.
I arrived early at the Church of St. Mary at Westminster College to get my music together and try the piano. It was late April in Fulton, Missouri, cold and damp, and the morning haze set the church in a sort of numinous relief against the pervading Midwestern gray. I leaned against the large wooden door, stepped inside, and shook off the chill.
Fuji Bay in Sioux City, slow Monday night, and The Bachelorette’s on TV. She’s stopped on her way back from the airport, in an attempt to self-soothe with sushi. Earlier in the day, she said goodbye to The Beloved in a different airport, then dozed on and off through two uncomfortable legs. Saying goodbye to The Beloved is always dreadful.
You turn off the lights. You shut and lock the doors. If there are windows, you herd your students to a corner where they can’t be seen from the windows. You tell them it’s important they stay still. You tell them it’s important they stay silent. You use the tone of voice you reserve for only the most serious things. The tone of voice you once used with your own children when you told them never to shoot up. You only have one life, you once said, don’t throw it away.
Human beings ought to emulate the birds. / Every millisecond on TV is a birdbrained lie. / And I love TV very much so I can say it. / A soothing mixture, pain and plenty.
The subject Titus is most interested in is the animal kingdom, within which, humans fall. Here, the abuse of animals, the hunting of them, working of them, and slaughter of them comes into question; but Titus doesn’t stop there, she releases the animal spirit across these pages to bring to light how little we understand about animals, and therefore, about ourselves.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it, / said a t-shirt my mother gave me, / but what did I have? / Tiny batteries in my breasts, / which hummed along, expectant. / I did and didn’t want to grow up