So I was reading an interview with a poet (Victoria Chang interviewing Allison Benis White) working on her 2nd manuscript. Her goal, she said, was being sure she didn’t just repeat herself again in book #2. I have finished the first draft of my first manuscript, though it is far, far from finished. I am already thinking about #2 and I am very conscious of not just repeating myself. Things have changed greatly for me in the past few months, so I’m hoping these changes will manifest in my work. Let’s hope…. (PS: thanks to my poetry mentor Kelli Russell Agodon for posting a link to this great interview!)
Marriage as Occupation
You will not realize you are at war
until the rubble is at your feet.
Moving will become impossible–
forward into the light
backward away from the king’s crumbling palace.
What you thought was the reception
champagne and cake,
tails and trains
are trains chuffing down the track
prisoners’ fingers mourning (doves’ wings) from the windows.
You are every refugee:
the woman in rags, babies threaded to her ratty side
the natty-haired man, a ghost behind the tinted glass,
that single small girl, moldy hand out for bread.
It will come as a surprise, the large envelope slipped through the mail slot,
the golden ticket to a new country.
You won’t remember signing up for the lottery.
When you arrive in the new world
tell everyone you are an explorer.
Explain that your ship crashed on the rocks
you have been swimming for days
your arms are tired, your guts waterlogged.
No one needs to know the truth:
you were not a prisoner
but a willing participant
lucky to have escaped
with your bag full of bones.