ragged edge magazine online



Issue 5
September, 2001



6 A.M.:





2 A.M.: The Body as Weaver

The body wants to sleep
Unencumbered by
The bright red yolk of day,
The hungers of its parts,
And the phantom hungers:
Care's bread, the salt of anger,
The name it turns in answer to.

Because the body wants to sleep --
Untouched by light's slow falling,
The pre-dawn house's whispers,
Or its own urges roiling --
And cannot lull the world,
It learns instead to steal,
To weave each thread of sense
     into its dream:

The bladder aching full
Become the urgency of sex.
The smoke-filled room only
     a dream of fire,

Because the body wants to sleep.
And for awhile it works.
And then the fiction fails.
And then the body wakes.

6 A.M.: Meditation: Entering the Mind of Winter

The lamppost is cold only to the touch, but lonely often. For who, hastening home of a winter's evening, reaches deep within his pocket not to retrieve the odd dollar or door key, condom or cough drop, lint or loose change, but rather the unsheathed, unadorned hand?

And rarer still, who claps his fellow on the back or grazes the world in passing?

As for me, I hurry home, uttering no small thanks.


A book for the blank bone-house hours
When time weighs heavy on our hands
And chaff like us is burnt away
By sun or borne aloft on winds.

Long use has left the binding weak;
Disuse has left it brittle.

Either way, it is the same.


Your hands, once gentle, rifle pages,
Strew cake crumbs, drip coffee stains.
You budget time; you talk of wages;
You leave the book out in the rain.

By your accounts, nothing's changed.


The binding gives, the pages scatter
(You turn your hands to other plots) . . .
No matter. Leave them to the winds.

The careful crows will cry them up.


Constance Merritt is the winner of the 1999 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry for A Protocol for Touch, her first collection of poems. Her sonnet sequence, "Song: At The Edge of The Sea" receivef the 1999 Hugh J. Luke Award from Prairie Schooner.


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