Poetry Porch: Poetry


The Too Long Married Woman
By Rebecca Seiferle

So, it came to this, she could barely bear
to be touched, though she was glad for that
moment in the kitchen, tense with containers,
scrapings of delicacies adhering, floating
in the sink, and the other woman who turned and walked toward
her, holding out her arms, extended
from her shoulders, those most human wings,
to gather her up into her she happy birthday wish whispering
into her hair and neck, and so went home,
momentarily buoyant, for it was not the body
she couldnít bear: for she could rest against
the edge of bone beneath the white collar,
the finer weave of skin warming against her,
almost impersonally, as a child falling into
a field, rests against the curve of density
of grass. No, it was the fingers of mind or feeling
touching her most private body, the eye
bedazzled by the blue dance, the imaginationís
bacchanal, all those invisible weddings of eye
and word, the tactfulness of some word reaching
into the private pleasures of her bath, the scent
of crushed and collected herbs perfuming
her soulís pillow, the sensitive not prying
into her sadness, rain kissing all the leaves
in the mindís invisible bed, all the feeling so
felt in another until she felt herself, so open
as if she had no skin or membrane. Then how to keep
herself from all the criticism of how she held
a wine glass or did not hearóoh right away,
or spoke wronglyóthe noses sniffling in protest
from her cigarettes, the broom and finger pointing
out the cobwebs in every corner that sheíd
forgotten to sweep away? Falling upon no skin,
stung as if by wasps beyond all nerve endings,
how to tell the criticism meant to rescue oneís real
self from that meant to destroy, no sense
of self at all? So she went in and out of the house, retrieving
winterís snowy wood, splitting stumps with a hatchet
to red aromatic heartwood, kindling one fire after
another, then washed each time the smudge
of ash and smoke from her hands until her hands
chapped, breaking open, as if by dismembering the self,
she would know herself by wound.

Copyright © 2007 by Rebecca Seiferle.