Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Am Myself Three Selves at Least

by Jennifer Sweeney

I am, myself, three selves at least,
the one who sweeps the brittle
bees, who saves the broken plates

and bowls, who counts to ten,
who tends the shoals,
who steeps the morning’s Assam leaves

and when day is wrung
tightens clock springs.
And yes, the one who sat through youth
quiet as a tea stain, whose hand

went up and knees went down,
whose party dresses soaked with rain,
who dug up bones
of snakes and mice

and stashed them inside baby jars—
who did not eat,
but did not starve.
And the self who twists the fallen

dogwood sticks into her hair,
who knows the trick of grief
is there is nothing such as sin

and neither good to part
the air, whom autumn claims
skin by skin.

Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer K. Sweeney.  Selected from How to Live on Bread and Music,
published by Perugia Press, Florence, Massachusetts.

Jennifer Sweeney
Stephanie ~ you asked for a recommendation of a poet to read.  It's a pretty hard request because there are a lot of good ones both current and former - but I bring this poem by Jennifer Sweeney to the blog because I think you will like it and all the other poems in her book.

Jennifer Sweeney won a pretty significant award last year (2009 James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets) and when you read her work you'll see why.  She has an original voice and knows how to craft memorable poems.  This is the second poem I've put up from Perugia Press (see Melody Gee's page), a press that has been publishing the work of women since 1997.  Please take the time to get to know both these poets and visit the Press' website to be introduced to other writers.   

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