viernes, 18 de marzo de 2016

RACHEL ZUCKER [18.254]


Rachel Zucker 

(Nueva York, 1971) es autora de varios libros de poesía, entre los que destacan The Pedestrians (Wave Books, 2014) y Museum of Accidents (Wave Books, 2009), que resultó finalista del National Book Critics Circle Award y fue declarado uno de los mejores libros de poesía de 2009 en el Publishers Weekly. Su obra ha sido recogida en varias selecciones, entre ellas la de Best American Poetry (2001), y merecido varios premios relevantes (el Salt Hill, deliberado por C.D. Wright, y el Center for Books Arts, por Lynn Emanuel). Además, ha publicado un memorial (MOTHERS, Counterpath Press, 2013) sobre su relación madre-hija con diversas mujeres, y es coeditora de dos antologías, Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections (2008) y Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days (2010). En 2012 recibió una beca del National Endowment for the Arts.

Tras graduarse en psicología en Yale y obtener un MFA de poesía en Iowa, ha ejercido como profesora en Fordham University y en la New York University. Actualmente complementa ese trabajo con sus labores como doula y educadora para el parto.


 Museum of Accidents (Wave Books, 2009)


Frases largas para ahuyentar el suicidio

          ves que se puede vivir sin que se haya sobrevivido

—Carolyn Forché
o
podría seguir teniendo hijos lo que ayuda un poco (duele
mucho) ya que durante mucho tiempo todo es un
mantén-vivo-al-bebé                                                       o me
podría encerrar más en mí misma recogiendo
los hechos cotidianos hacia adentro dentro para pero así
queda menos espacio
si la línea sale demasiado corta
ahoga
demasiado tiempo—no soy la primera en haberme engañado ni la primera en sentir
que hay algo [—cuelga—] atravesado en mi garganta que no quiere bajar
el jueves en la guarde
hago tortitas con el curso de preescolar de Abram y él eligió a Ami
y la maestra escogió a Luna y Derek lloraba y lloraba y entonces
dejé que midiera la harina porque no paraba de decir
¿es tu mamá? ¿Tu mamá? ¡Quiero mucho a tu mamá! era raro
así que le di mantequilla y un cuchillito romo, deseando que al maestro
no le importase y después me enteré de que la madre de Derek
había muerto en las torres

cuando lo dijeron dejé de respirar y de creer que soy
una buena madre por seguir con vida

            ¿tú qué piensas? me pregunta Joan, ¿es mejor morirse ahora o cuando
eran bebés y no iban a saber qué se perdían? Casi dije mejor cuando eran bebés
pero. no es cierto. cada libro de antes de dormir. cada cucharada de potito.
plátano. después de lavarse los dientes. cómo lo sostuve (con una sábana del hospital,
sujeto) mientras el imbécil del doctor preocupado porque le ensuciara la camisa
le cosía el labio reventado, y cuando yo le iba quitando la afición a la mantita y a la teta
y a los pañales y a dar mordiscos y a dar patadas y a desabrocharme la camisa
en público de pronto y a saltarse fuera de la cuna y a ponerse de pie en el metro
sin agarrarse— es, digo, mejor
                                                                                                         morirme ahora  

o

cuando llegue a una edad
(¿qué edad?) y crea que ya puede digerirlo—¿lo haré,
soltarme?

si logro encontrar el color justo en mi estudio tal vez entonces no necesite quedarme
en el fondo de la sinagoga y perderme de nuevo el shofar este año
pero no es el bueno, demasiado claro, primaveral. gris verdoso en vez de gris
o verde. no es amarillo. no azul. no va a funcionar he hecho esto
¿a propósito? ¿escogí el color del interior de una semilla que nunca debería haber abierto?

…en donde está mi aliento…

apenas puede oírse por encima del tecleo de mi pensamiento el por qué
estoy obsesionada con colores de pintura y las cualidades de las estaciones
objetos materiales estoy loca tan perezosa tenaz, imparable, nadie es capaz de aguantarlo
lo llaman pensamiento negativo cíclico ese constante fijarse en uno mismo
¿voy bien ahora? ¿y ahora? ¿ahora mejor? ¿peor, ahora?
por encima de la bien merecida carga narcisista, por encima del zumbido
de cuántas personas vivas ahora y ahora cuántas muertas. Llevo sin leer
el New York Times cuatro años y un mes pero no me ha servido de nada

¿o acaso estaría
peor?

cada roce es demasiado pero imperceptible ¿será quizás la fiebre de algún sitio?
gente que muere más rápido de lo que escribo poemas


cuando mis alumnos quieren escribir poemas
me dan ganas de decirles esperad a que se muera todo el mundo

en vez de eso les digo: el poema debe contener una sorpresa y necesita imágenes
            y ¿dónde están las cosas? El mundo real tiene valor. un pez
en un bidón lleno de peces. un pájaro en una bandada.

¿era un róbalo?
¿una urraca azul?

Vamos, hostia, ya, es indiferente si eran “rocas” o eran “piedras” lo que Virginia puso en los bolsillos
de su camisola, para abajo, tirando de ella hacia abajo, con los objetos del mundo

Eso que no tienen los alumnos
casi ha acabado conmigo.

Mi hijo tiene una pesadilla. llora tiene miedo de decírmelo.
luego me cuenta cómo mucha, mucha gente,
entró por la noche en su cuarto a todos les faltaba
algo: un ojo, un brazo, una pierna, una cabeza,
sabía quiénes eran por la voz
y lo que decían no era bueno

Tengo de todo. hasta un trabajo.
un hijo. un hijo. cuadernos que no tengo manera
de pasar

¿Por qué, me pregunta mi hijo, hay que
                       decir algo si ves algo?
señalando a un póster en el que hay un bulto negro
abandonado en el andén del metro. intento
respirar pero me está preguntando y señala. digo: los pájaros
                       no tienen dientes y se tienen que comer
piedras pequeñas, chinas, arena para triturar la comida. Y
asiente. Me coge de la mano.

Hago un esfuerzo tan grande para no mostrarle
mi visión del mundo que casi no consigo respirar. Le he dado
un hermano quiero darle otro y nunca
le cuento que hay cosas
y cosas que explotan y no es fácil saber
diferenciarlas. Lo dejo en la escuela, voy a clase,
donde los alumnos dicen una cosa y dicen
una cosa y rara vez ven algo.

Me pregunto
¿qué pasa si la bolsa negra está llena de no-bombas. llena de
semillas lisas y alargadas, suaves al tacto, cada una
conteniendo un bebé humano? ¿Me tragaré
una?

Esta mañana, a solas,
estoy escuchando música para no escuchar
la explosión
cuando la haya es seguro que tarde o temprano va a haberla
(hoy un aviso)
cada instante aún
por explotar, gasear o infectar,
todavía no es contagioso, ¿debería
no bajar al metro? pregunto y mi marido:
ya te ha bajado el ánimo
bastante. reímos los dos.

En clase dice un alumno, vivir en una gran ciudad está muy bien porque
abre tu mente y eso está muy bien porque así eres más culto.
                      
Así que aquí estoy, con 8.168.388 personas.

Buenos días, no le digo a nadie, tengo un ataque de pánico. Y
depresión. No, en realidad no me pasa nada pero gracias por el clínex. A veces
El metro lo dispara. El autobús. El ascensor. Los espacios pequeños. La
aspiradora. El hilo musical. Cosas dentro de otras cosas al igual que yo, una muñeca rusa,
fijándose en que todos llevan máscaras mientras no se tome las pastillas.

Me gustan las frases cortas, dice un alumno.
Me gustan los poemas sin imágenes, dice un alumno.
Quería que todo pareciera muy superficial, dice un alumno.
No dijiste que tuviera que ser algo interesante, dice un alumno.
Quiero que me pregunten si me gusta mi trabajo.

Quiero que me expliquen por qué puse una bolsa grande de explosivos
en mi paladar e intenté tragarla cuando lo único que hacía era
intentar mantenerme con vida, con terror de que mis hijos vieran mis ausencias,
y cómo es que la policía no intenta detenerme
y mis vecinos del metro abiertos de mente sonríen con dulzura
mientras nos abalanzamos y les digo a mis hijos abalanzados no, debéis seguir, seguir, a
cada momento podría acabarse, de pronto, terminar
antes de tiempo, debo
seguir.

(Museum of Accidents, Wave Books, 2009.)

TRAD.  Fernando Pérez Fernández
http://latribudefrida.com/poesia/poema-rachel-zucker/



Long Lines to Stave Off Suicide

Long Lines to Stave Off Suicide

"One can live without having survived." (Carolyn Forché)

or
I could keep having children which helps a little (hurts
a lot) because everything for a long time is so
keep-the-baby-alive, or I
could keep more to myself gathering
daily facts inwards in towards but this makes for
less interior space
if the line's too short
drown --
too long -- I'm not the first to be beguiled by and not the first to feel
there's something [--hang--] I've swallowed that won't go down --

on Thursday at pre-K
I make pancakes with Abram's class and he asks Ami
and the teacher chose Luna and Derek cried and cried and I
let him measure flour because he kept saying,
that's your mom? your mom? I love your mom! it was weird
so I gave him butter and a blunt knife, hoped the teacher
wouldn't mind and later found out Derek's mom
died in the towers

I couldn't breathe when I heard it or believe what a good mother
I've been just by staying alive

do you think? Joan asks, it's better to die now or back when they were babies and didn't know better? I almost say better to have died when they were babies
but. not true. every good night book. spoon or puréed pear. banana
after brush-your-teeth time. how I held him (restrained in a hospital sheet)
while the idiot doctor who didn't want to dirty his dress shirt
stitched the busted lip. and when I weaned him off the binky and the boob
and the floaties and from biting and kicking and unbuttoning my shirt 
in public and from climbing out of the crib and from standing up on the subway
without holding on--better, I say, to
die now


or,


when he reaches an age
(what age?) and I find I can finally swallow it down -- will I? 
loosen?


perhaps if I can get the color just right in my study I will not need to stand
in the back of the synagogue and miss the shofar again this year
but it's not right, too light, like springtime. gray-green not gray
or green. not yellow. not blue. it will not do have I done this
on purpose? I picked the color of the inside of a seed I should never have opened?


...where is my breath is...



can barely hear above the clicking of my thinking why
am I so obsessed with paint color and the properties of the seasons
material objects I'm crazy so lazy and driven, relentless, no one could stand this
they call it cyclical negative thinking the constant self-checking
am I okay now? now? now? worse? better? now?
above the well-deserved charge of narcissism, above the thrum
of how many people alive now and now how many dead. I've not read
the New York Times for four years and one month but it hasn't helped.


or would I be
worse?


every touch too much but imperceptible perhaps a fever somewhere? and 
people dying faster than I can write poems.




when my student want to write poems
I want to say wait for everyone to die.


instead I say: the poem must have a surprise and needs images 
and where are the things? the real world matters. one fish 
in a barrel of fish. one bird in a flock of birds.


was it a bass?
a blue jay?



oh, for fuck's sake, there's no difference between "stones" and "rocks" in Virginia's
frock, down, down, down into the world of objects
which the students haven't got
has nearly killed me.

my soon has a dream. cries. is afraid to tell me.
later he says that many, many people
came into his room at night all missing
something: an eye, an arm, a leg, a head
he knew them by their voices instead
and did not like what they were saying




I have everything. even a job.
a child. a child. notebooks I cannot quite
get down.

why, asks my son on the subway, should you
say something if you see something?
pointing at the poster of an abandoned black
duffel on a subway platform. I am trying
to breathe but he's asking and pointing. I say,
birds don't have teeth and need to eat
small rocks, stones, sand to break down food. he
nods, pats my hand.

I'm trying so hard not to show him
my worldview I can barely breathe. gave him
a brother want to give him another and never
tell him there are things 
and things that explode and no easy way to know
the difference. I drop him off at school, go to class
where the students say something and say
something and rarely see anything.

I wonder,
what if the black bag is filled with not-bombs? filled with
long, smooth seeds surprisingly soft to the touch
each containing a human baby? shall I swallow one
down?




This morning, alone,
I'm listening to music so as not to hear
the explosion
if there is one certainly eventually will be one
(today an alert)
every moment is not yet
exploded or gaseous or biolgical,
not yet infectious. should I
not ride the subway? I ask. the husband:
you've felt pretty low lately
anyway. we both laugh.




In class a student says, living in a metropolis is good because it helps you have an open min which is good so you're not ignorant.


so here I am again with 8,168,388 people.


Good morning, I don't say to anyone, I'm experiencing panic. And
depression. No, actually, nothing's wrong but thanks for the Kleenex. Sometimes
the subway sets it off. Or the bus. Elevator. Small spaces. The vacuum
cleaner. Ambient radio. Things inside other things as if myself a Russian doll or
that everyone has masks my unmedicated eye can't help but notice --

I like short lines, say a student.
I like poems without images, says a student.
I wanted everything to sound very superficial, says a student.
You never said it had to be interesting, says a student.


I want someone to ask me if I like my job.


I want someone to explain why I put a large duffel bag of explosives
into my mouth and tried to swallow it down when I was just
trying to stay alive, terrified my sons could see my missings, and how is it the cops
don't stop me and my open-minded subway neighbors smile sweetly
as we hurtle along and I tell my jostling boys, no, no you must hold on, hold on,
any moment it could stop, suddenly, stop
short, I must
hold on.



Hey Allen Ginsberg Where Have You Gone 
and What Would You Think of My Drugs?

listen, a bad thing happened to
my friend’s marriage, can’t tell you
only can tell my own story which
so far isn’t so bad:

“Dad” and I stay married. so far.
so good. so so.

But it felt undoable. This lucky life
every day, every day. every, day.

(all the poetry books the goddamn same
until one guy gets up and stuns the audience.)

Joe Wenderoth, not by a long shot
sober, says, I promised my wife I wouldn’t fuck
anyone to no one in particular and reads a poem
about how Jesus had no penis.

Meanwhile, the psychiatrist, attractive
in a fatherly way, says, Libido question mark.

And your libido?
like a father, but not like mine, or my sons’—

fix it.

My friend Nathan’s almost written
a good novel, by which I mean finished,
which means I’d like to light myself
on fire—this isn’t “desire,”
not what the Dr. meant
by libido?

                                          I hope—

not, it’s just chemical:
              jealousy. boredom. lethargy.

Books with prominent serifs: their feet feet feet I am
marching to the same be—

other

than the neuronic slave I thought anxiety made me
do it, made me get up and carry forth, sally
the children to school the poems dragged
by little hands on their little serifs
to the page, my marriage sustained, remaining
energy: project #1, project #2, broken
fixtures, summer plans, demands met, requests
granted, bunny noodles with and without cheesy
at the same time, and the nighttime, I insomnia
these hours penning invisible letters—

                          till it stopped.

doc said: It’s a syndrome. You’ve got it,
                                          classic.

It’s chemical,
mental
circuitry, we’ve got a fix for this
classic, I’m saying I can

make it better.

Everything was the same, then,
but better.

At night I slept.
In the morning got up.

Kids to school, husband still a fool-
hardy spirit makes
me pick a Monday morning fight, snipe! I’ll pay for that
later I’m still a pain in the
elbow from writing prose those shift+hold+letter,
I’m still me less sleepy, crazy, I suppose
less crazy-jealous just
haha now at Jesus’ no penis
amazed at the other poet’s kick-ass
friend’s novel I dream instead about
the government makes me put stickers
on my driver’s license of family members
who are Jews, and mine all are. Can they get us
all? I escape with a beautiful light-haired man,
blue-eyed day trader, gentile.

                                                     (( gentle, gentle, mind encased in its
                                                     blood-brain barrier from the harsh skull
                                                     sleep, sleep and sleepy wake and want
                                                     to sleep and sleep a steep dosage—

                                                                      “—chemical?” ))

in my dreams now every man’s mine, no
problem, perhaps my mind’s a little plastic,
malleable, not so fatal now

the dose is engineered like that new genetic watercress
to turn from green to red when planted over buried
mines, nitrogen dioxide makes for early autumn,
red marks the spot where I must
watch my step, up one half-step-dose specific—


The psychiatrist’s lived in NY so long
he’s of ambiguous religion—
everyone’s Jewish sometimes—
writes: “Up the dosage.”

                                                (( now,
                                                when I’m late I just shrug
                                                it’s my new improved style
                                                missed the train? I tug
                                                the two boys single file

                                                the platform a safe aisle
                                                between disasters, blithely
                                                I step, step, step lively
                                                carefully, wisely

                                                I sing silly ditties
                                                play I spy something pretty-
                                                gray-brown-metal-filthy
                                                for a little city fun

                                                just one way to enjoy life’s
                                                trials, mile after mile, lucky
                                                to have such dependable feet

                                                you see, the rodents
                                                don’t frighten I’m calm
                                                as can be expected to recover
                                                left to my own devices I was
                                                twice as fast getting everywhere but where
                                                did that get me but, that inevitable location
                                                more waiting, the rats there scurry, scurry, a furry
                                                till the next train comes— ))

“Up the dosage.”

Brown a first-cut brisket in hot Dutch oven
after dusting with paprika. Remove. Sauté
thickly sliced onions and add wine (sweet
is better, lasts forever, never need a new bottle).
Put the meat on onions, cover with tomato-sauce-
onion-soup-mix mixture, cover. Back in low oven
many hours.


This year, I’ll be better;
trying to get out of Egypt.

The house smells like meat.
My hair smells like meat.

I’m a light unto the nation.


Joseph makes sense of the big man’s dreams, is saved,
saves his brothers those jealous boys who sold him
sold them all as slaves. Seven years of plenty. Seven
years of famine. He insomnias the nights counting up
grains, storing, planning, for what? They say throw
the small boys in the river (and mothers do so). Smite
the sons (and fathers do it). God says take off your shoes,
this holy ground this pitiful, incombustible bush.

Is God chemical?
Enzymatic of our great need to chaos?

We’re unforgivable. People of the salted
cheeks. Slap, turn, slap.


To be chosen is to be
unforgiving/unforgiv-
en, always chosen:
be better.


The Zuckers are a long line of obsessives.

This served them well in wartime saw it
coming in time that unseeable thing they
hoarded, they ferried, schemed, paced, got the hell
out figured out at night, insomnia, how to visa—

now, if it happens again, I won’t be
ready—

I’m “better.”

The husband, a country club Jew from Denver,
American intelligentsia, will have to carry me out
and he’s no big man and I’m
not a small girl how fast . . .

can the doctor switch the refugee gene back on?

How fast can I get worse? Smart again and worse?

It is better to be alive than better.

. . . Listen: says the doctor, Sleep isn’t death.
All children unlearn this fear you got confused
thought thinking was the same as—
Writes: “Up the dosage.”

Don’t think. this refugee thing part
of a syndrome fear of medication of being better . . .

Truth is, the anti-obsessional medicine works
wonders and drags me through life’s course.

Light unto the Nation.

About this time of year but years ago
the priests spread rumors of blood libel.
Jews huddled in basements accused
of using Christian babes’ blood
to make unleavened bread.

Signs and wonders.
Christ rises.

Blood and body and babes.
Basements and briskets
and bread of afflictions.

[I] am calm now with my pounds of meat
made and frozen, my party schedule, my pills
of liberation, my gentile dream-boy, American
passport, my gray-haired psychiatrist, my blue-
eyed son, my brown-eyed son, my poems on their
pretty little fleet-feet, my big shot friends, olive-skinned
husband, my right elbow on fire: fire inside deep in the nerve
from too much carrying and word-mongering, smithery, bearing
and tensing, choosing to be better to live this real life this better orbit this Jack

Kerouac never loved you like you wanted—

Blake.
Buddha.
Only Jesus and that’s his shtick,
he loves

everyone: smile! that’s it,
for the camera, blood pressure
normal, better, you’re a poster child
for signs and wonders what a little chemistry
does for the brain, blood, thoughts, hey,

did you know that Pharaoh actually wanted
to let them go? those multitude Jews
but God hardened Paraoh’s heart against them [Jews]
to prove his prowess, show his signs, wonders, outstretched
hand, until the dosage was a perfect ten and then
some, sea closing up around those little chariots
the men and horses while women on the far shore shook
their tambourines. And then what?

                                                            Forty years
to get the small slavery off them.


Because of this. Bloody Nile. My story
one of the lucky. Escaped hatch even from
my own obsess—


                                         I am here because of this.
Because of what my ancestors did for me to tell this
story of the outstretched hand what it did for me this
marked door and behind this red-marked door, around
a corner a blue-eyed boy waits to love me up with his
leavened bread, his slim body, professional detachment,
medical advancments, forgive me my father’s mother’s
father was the last in a long line of rabbis—again! with this? This
rhapsody of affliction and escape, the mind bobbing along
in its watery safe. Be like everyone. Else. Indistinguishable but
better than the other nations. But that’s what got us into this, Allen,
no one writes these long-ass poems anymore. Now we’re
better, all better. All Christian. Kind.

Rachel Zucker, “Hey Allen Ginsberg Where Have You Gone and What Would You Think of My Drugs?” from Museum of Accidents. Copyright © 2009 by Rachel Zucker. Reprinted by permission of Wave Books.

Source: Museum of Accidents (Wave Books, 2009)




Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

                Saturday morning
two hawks flew over the soccer field and swooped in low
as Abram almost scored a goal. Moses, on the sideline, sat
on a stray ball reading a book, not looking up at the game
or the hawks or his brother who noticed. That night
at the Basic Trust Day Care Poker Tournament I got knocked
out with queen/nine against queen/jack by Dan Shiffman
who seemed almost sad to beat me. I sucked on ginger candies
and held new baby Phoebe Kate, born on the same due date
as the baby I miscarried. When she left I cried and had more candies.
In the end, Josh beat everyone and won a 40-inch flat-screen TV.


                                                                    Sunday morning
I couldn’t sleep so got up early, went to the Hell’s Kitchen
flea market and bought a dining table and chairs from a man
named Toney. Bargained him down to $690 (including delivery)
because “the chairs need new upholstery.” A 1950ish Danish
with expandable top and funny splayed feet—it reminds me
of my late Grandma Lotty, her sister Marguerite, and the heavy-laden
tables of childhood. I’ve no idea what it will look like
with my small family gathered round or if I’ll overworry
the polished surface. We’ll see—
it arrives on Tuesday.


                                                                    This morning
I got a stack of papers from sophomore lit. The top two
had the author’s name misspelled. I’ve not yet looked at
any others. I talked in class about how Art Spiegelman
chose realism over sentiment, how we conflate historical time
with personal time, how on 9/11 I took my nine-month old son
to his first day of day care and the city expoloded, went up
in smoke, and no one but me cares that he spent hours there,
only nine months old, while we watched TV in our phone-jammed
airspace, breathed in fumes, tried to give blood, wondered was there
anywhere, anywhere we could or should
                                                                                               flee to?—


Josh called right after class and said he’d gotten “strong intent” from an agent
who’s “all about the money.”


Nothing disastrous happened this week. Not so far. Unless you count
what I saw next, between classes on my way to read student poems
at Empanada Mama’s on 48th and 9th. A teenage boy lying on his side
in the middle of the street. The traffic stopped and a crowd watched
while six or seven other boys ran back and forth and stamped down
hard on his skull. I turn a gag into a kind of cough and dial 911
We’ve already called the fucking police, says a woman as I retch
into an empty trash can. Finally three teenage girls surround the boy
and the other boys move off.


                                                                                Later,
on my way back to Fordham, I stop a cop and ask
about the boy. EMTs got him, says the officer.
They had no shame, no fear, even with all of us watching . . . I tell him.
They’re kids, ma’am, he says. You know what kids is like.


                                                                              Tonight
in Writer’s Workshop I & II I read two cantos from Model Homes
by Wayne Koestenbaum and then “A Poet’s Life” by David Trinidad.
These poems hijack form and make it present, contemporary, immediate. Look how
Wayne puts a plumber and lovers, his mother, porn mags, fashion into terza rima
that lead us along, punch drunk, addicted to real life. And oh how David’s crown
of sonnets breaks our hearts! The students stare blankly; one:
               These are sonnets?
and someone’s cell phone rings with the sound of a human voice pleading:
Pick up! Pick up! Pick up!


                                                                                 After an hour
we head upstairs to hear Linda Gregg, Saskia Hamilton, and Tess Gallagher.
Linda says, I had a husband once named John and we did mushrooms
and John said, “We’re lost but hey don’t worry because when it gets dark I can read
the stars” and I said “I don't know what you’re talking about. We’re not lost.
We’re right here.” And my students, aghast at who knows what,
start passing notes and rustling papers. Tess talks about her cancer
and the ghosts within and Saskia reads poems thick with grief,
some in a cracked guttural tongue I think is Danish.


                                                                                   When I get home
and try to describe the boy in the street Josh says, More people died
in Iraq this month than any other and I remind him that tomorrow morning,
before the new table is due to be delivered, we’re going to Saint Vincent’s
Hospital where Dr. Margano will put the KY-covered wand inside me
and tell us if these past nine weeks have yielded a fetal heartbeat
which will change everything, nothing.

Source: Museum of Accidents (Wave Books, 2009)




When All Hands Were Called to Make Sail

for Spalding Gray

The West and North winds both lover us, wanting, bitter,
to bring us in close in the small hold.

Tongues loll and laze, while the flap
and snapping above: crazy wanderlust.

The basin must cradle, keep her passengers,
though the hero abandoned the ferry for the real sea.

Is nothing worthy?

        Wallet on bench. Wallet at home. Wallet at rest.

The child, even his cries, must the ship balance,
makes me wild to right this unhumanly keeling.

I have six arms, am the dismembered figurehead,
ballast, breasts covered in blue scales.

I am at rudder, at bow, at mast, at rigging,
at deck, at halyard, at stern, when the hold

explodes with screaming.

One boy has stolen the other’s marble. The boat shifts, tilts.
A wallet washes up against us.

Is this what you meant when you said a family steadied you?

Is this what they see when they see me and my six handless arms,
shining torso and cuspid humor?

The figurehead has no need for eyelids, must
on-guard, vigil, dry eyed.

But she dreams. Dreams.

The sail, its fine apparel, its linen long-shadow: a tiny hand
opening, budlike
Rachel Zucker, “When All Hands Were Called to Make Sail” from Museum of Accidents. Copyright © 2009 by Rachel Zucker. Reprinted by permission of Wave Books.

Source: Museum of Accidents (Wave Books, 2009)






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