A Quieting

by Michael Harty
Wild Poetry Forum
Second Place, August 2010
Judged by Ruth Ellen Kocher


Every day she spoke of the wind,
always the wind, constant as her presence,
molding every tree to point
a steady northeast, scouring paint
from the south wall, decorating
barbed wire with tumbleweeds,
mesquite with candy wrappers and rags.

Familiar as a bedtime book:
the chinks never sealed,
dustmopping twice a day, still the skids
on powdery linoleum, still the jokes
about grit in the sandwiches.

Every day, until the day
you walked through a house full of silence,
stepped out a screen door, leaned
into a wind that wasn’t there,
staggered, almost fell.


The poem pivots on the notion of suspension and the open ended signification of what is familiar and so yet unknown. We find ourselves as readers settling into the poem, into the poem's language, such that the elusive pronouns, "she" and "you" seem not so much untethered but mysterious and inviting. The poem slips into the fantastic utterance and yet, we do not question being led by each successive image. The marriage of disparate objects and references serves the magical feeling of the poem and allows it to hover between a moment of true recollection and a moment of dream. --Ruth Ellen Kocher

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