Saturday, August 9, 2014

Anita Barrows: "Lessons from Darkness"



“I'm afraid of the darkness, and the hole in it;
and I see it sometime of every day!”
-Martin Luther, in Luther

Everything you love will perish. Try saying this to yourself
at breakfast, watching the amber-colored tea
swirl in the teapot. Try it on the tree, the clouds, the dog
asleep under the table, the sparrow taking a bath
in the neighbor's gutter. A magician’s act: Presto!
On a morning you feel open enough to embrace it
imagine it gone. Then pack the child’s lunch: smooth the thick
peanut butter, the jeweled raspberry preserves,
over the bread. Tell yourself the world
must go on forever. This is why
you feed her, imagining the day—orderly—
unfolding, imagining what you teach her
is true. Is something she will use. This is why, later, you will go out
into the garden, among the calendula, rosemary, hibiscus,
run your finger along the trunk of hawthorn
as though it were the body
of a lover, thinking of the child
on the steps of the schoolyard, eating her sandwich. Thinking nothing,
transparent air, where her hands are.


"Lessons from Darkness" by Anita Barrows. Published online by Talking Writing, March 12, 2014. © Anita Barrows. Epigraph from Luther by John Osborne (© Faber and Faber, 1961).

Many thanks to subscriber Mark Palinski for suggesting this poem for our collection.

Art credit: "Classic PBJ," photograph by Bill Keaggy (originally color).

 

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