Poetry Porch: Poetry


The Task
by Nadya Aisenberg 

The body shuts its pleasures down
like a shopkeeper in an occupied land
whose empty shelves attest:
There’s nothing left to buy.

Death scoops up our friends,
a cow-catcher clearing the rails
for those riding behind.
Fewer to love, be loved by.

I tremble to see
your mouth slacken
while you sleep.

The task of paring, paring,
as if the past owned everything
but memory: our captive,
still-fleet selves, green shoots
through winter bark.

The time is now. The skittering mind
skims wave-fields,
Take hold, take hold.
A sparrow’s dart and peck, bough quivering,
alight, flight.
And the cumbrous body below,
comforter-shroud wrapped like a presentiment
of that eternal heaviness we migrate to.

Who’s living my beautiful life,
eating the sun, drinking the lashings of rain?

Copyright © 2001 by Nadya Aisenberg.
This poem is from the book Measures of Salmon Publishing Ltd. Reprinted with permission.