by Eve Grubin

Think of This

Once there was a ripping.

It was like a gash
on the breast.
Not along the seam. A cleaving
at an impossible place in the middle.

A ripping. And the child emerged
from the unfeasible,
crawled through slats of light streaked
across each wall, each closed door.

The child stopped in a room that seemed to explain.
She stood up, stepped
into the room’s wound:

wrought-iron gates, muddy bodies, dreams
of throats convulsing.

Unseamed explanations, a dangerous peace.
She lay down.

The women gather around the burnt-out fire.
Smoke rising from the center, a black braid.

Seven in white nightgowns float in the brown fields.
Wrens and marigolds embroidered on the cotton sleeves
loose around their wrists.

In the forest the child stumbles near
a woman with unraveling green stems in her fist who is unaware
of the long scratch on her own face,

a shaft of light hits the pine-needle floor beside them.

Can you think of this as an instruction,
a preparation?

This cutting
to the sap
and knurl, this clawing to the root?

A severe angel catches
your wrist:

This obstruction
is a preparation and an entrance.

You will be a woman
such as makes others glad to be born.

Sanity’s sand is soaked, dark.

Its plum is cold.

And its lines are the perfect black blurs
on the bottom of the swimming pool.

Taste it: faint tang of chlorine
when you lick your knee.

Sanity knows a body enters another body as a dream
enters the next dream,

knows about sorrow’s orb, an odor
carried in a net.

The burnt hour slights the father’s obstructing words.
Brush the words away, they are flies circling a summer face.

Across the surface of the earth
hurt lies lustrous.

Eve Grubin's first book of poems is Morning Prayer (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2005). Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. A chapbook-size group of poems appeared in Conjunctions (Fall 2004) with an afterword by Fanny Howe. She works as the programs director at the Poetry Society of America, teaches poetry at The New School University, and she is a fellow at The Drisha Institute for Jewish Education.