I have been writing and publishing for what feels like a long, long time without bringing out a book. The consequence of this is that poems that I once liked, that years ago I may have thought book-worthy, will never be included in a manuscript. Some of them I still like, even as I see their weaknesses or wince at an earlier aesthetic, so as long as I have the nerve, I'm going to publish some of them here in an occasional series. As the first computer file I have of my poems is from 1990, I'll start there. (If I get really brave, at some point I may dig out my volumes of pre-1990 poems, but I'm not there yet.)
I wrote the following poem on Valentine's Day, 1990. I was twenty years old.
Belligerence or Fear
His hand moves across my face
with the snap of a bird's neck breaking.
Across the room, my sister shifts
in a creaking chair, a subtle distraction.
Outside, November shakes the sycamore,
all its limbs flailing.
There is where I am,
barren boughs rattling against the windowpane,
the granite-gray skies.
As he begins to turn away, I smile too loud.
Published in Indefinite Space in 1994
(and by the way, the narrative is entirely made up)