August 23, 2010

Publishing a portfolio piece today because I’m still mid-move.

Every couple of years I decide I’m going to try and write one poem a day for a full year of my life.  I have never actually succeeded, but it’s resulted in a couple cool snapshots of me at certain ages that I really like.  The following poem was written when I was 19, the night before my parents dropped me off at college. 

I dropped my parents off at the airport yesterday after moving, once again, a third of the way across a very big country.  This still fits.

if i close my eyes
and i think a bit, just imagine,
just zone out,
i can sort of feel the breeze.

it’s a cool day where i’m thinking.

not bright, not sunny,
but not a storm either,
just overcast, just grey,
just sort of breezy and quiet.
and i’m on a pillar of stone
in the middle of the grand canyon.

you can, like, see the striped rock
if you looked down from where i’m sitting
in any direction, because it’s a daydream
and there’s no way up or down.
and then with my eyes closed
(’cause i’m daydreaming)
i let the light in to meet my pupils
and look out,
and it’s terrifying and new,
but there are wings on my back.
and now i’m at the point where i’ve
got to jump
or fly.

but then i open my eyes for real
and i’m on the real cliff,
in the twelfth-story hotel room,
at sunset,
with the spread of cedar rapids below
(it’s the second-largest city
in this state, and a lovely little town)
and there’s a quaker oats factory
across the way, the sign is red
and smoke is rising from a stack on the roof.
it’s black against the electric dark sky.
and my parents,
my parents are eternal photographers,
leaning at the window at odd angles
to take pictures
and then turning the lens to me
to capture me as a little girl
the day before i’m not anymore.


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