Suppose we live out of darkness.
Are our bright words any less true?
If I say the sword-flash of river or
you say the streets of Paris,
is it forgery? We are kin,
raised by women who ran their lives
against the poor house, magnolia
and bog laurel pressed between
the same dusty pages. Some
would have us own nothing,
least what we’ve seen in the mind.
One small window, a sudden crack,
a persistent wind.
Our room will never stop filling.
Who says we are empty or arranged?
Tell them to sit in the worn chair
by your window, close their ears and eyes,
try to stop what pours abreast of the senses.
Cowards call it an ill draft.
They deserve their pitiful world.
*The image “sword-flash of river” is Helen Keller’s (found in The New Yorker, June 16, 2003: “What Helen Keller Saw” by Cynthia Ozick).