Terms of Engagement

Can you be stunningly inventive,
linguistically eclectic, unflinchingly brave

but still grounded in the necessary and sustaining?

The reflecting pool surrounded by the beautiful
well-manicured lawn is flanked by the verticality
of cypress trees and liveried servants.

Evenings when the sky is clear and delicate
as a flute of blown glass, voices carry
through the air. Tonight, over the barely

audible hum of the electric fence,
someone is reading a poem threaded with bodies
and explosions, the words our shared

humanity snaking through like a dark skin,
like a cloudy vapor, like a distant glacier
unsheared, melting soon into the sea.


In response to Via Negativa: Grave.

2 Replies to “Terms of Engagement”

  1. How far have we come
    from the shared rib,
    the scuffed knees and the frayed mats,
    the light of a thousand lanterns?
    So far that in a woman’s face as she weeps
    or a man’s body used as a shield over others
    we don’t recognize our own?
    So far that when a child washes up dead on a shore
    we ask each other whose he was?

    Thank you for the wonderful poem, Luisa. I am gripped by the image, “a poem threaded with bodies”.

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