Language is fossil poetry, Emerson said, in reference to
I know not what, possibly
an aster in stony clay, a theory of light.
Something that finds its way out.
The interviewer asked if I’d ever abandoned a creative project,
and if so, did I come back to it?
Yes, I have, yes, I did, yes, that’s me
ripping out stitches, going too far with the scissors.
That’s me with the bulging bag of scraps,
humdrum of production.
My mother always said you can never have
too many good, clean rags.
Speaking of my mother,
she wanted me to find someplace else to be young.
Why don’t you do something productive? she’d mutter
as I stumbled from bed to couch
to towel on the lawn, slippery with baby oil,
not even reading a book.
We didn’t know back then what the sun could do to you.
We didn’t know our emissions
were breaking down the membrane between us
and the atmosphere, what we used to call outer space.
Speaking of breaking,
today I almost ran over two ducks and a guinea hen
wandering around in what they mistook for freedom
across the road from their manufactured habitat.
Clearly they were trying to expand their horizons
but I was so busy in my head, so far down the list of projects
I’ve had to abandon, I didn’t notice.
Though once past the fowl by sheer luck I didn’t kill,
I snapped to for an orange sign that said Bump,
and woke to a sudden preponderance of hydrangeas, yards
bustling with pale rockets of lacey bloom.
I set them aside for later
with the man who almost sold them to me
until I decided I couldn’t trust him and testily abandoned the plants
in the little red wagon I’d been pulling around.
I gave up on that project before I’d even left the nursery,
and was chewing on something entirely different
when I flew by the very blonde girl in her driveway
swinging a jump rope
so that the business end was flying dangerously close
to somebody’s cherry Camaro.
Boy, did she look happy about it.
Boy, did she look me dead on, her whatever it was – intention, will, mission –
her creative project
beaming right through the windshield of my car.
Thank you, little blonde girl for unsuspending my belief. I hope
you don’t mind being stolen.
Amy Dryansky 2013