Barbara Jane Reyes


Upon hearing of the death of a poet I never knew
in moments of poets’ darkness, who knows
the inescapable solitude of seeing what is
unfathomed, what only poets take care
to compose. a mother’s face, a mosaic
of glass shards; a beloved child, an only
treasure; loving a man for his impossibility;
rekindling our fear for boxes. in between,
where we reside, there are never enough
words, and never enough places for words;
they insist still upon overtaking us,
but never wanting to know what ice
is in our veins. consulting dictionaries,
bibles, never quite tenuous enough
to pronounce that softness. their
simultaneous insouciance and love
infuriate us, force us to crawl inside
ourselves. we create false faces, hoping
one day these might inhabit us,
erase our own of mourning traces.
no leafless branch nor autumn could
evoke our nostalgia, only sadden
us for what is unremembered:
in moments of restlessness and fervor,
a continent ringed with salt and bliss, edged
with fennel seed, rose petals, silverleaf.

Barbara Jane Reyes
Poem, copyright © 2005 by Barbara Jane Reyes
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse