V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





The capiz shells chime in the wind, and would
destroy me if I weren’t armed: I have denial
and an armada of recollections that prove

there were balloons
and paper plates with pieces of cake.
I hear the sounds of children’s shoes.

I see the lit candles, hear the singing that’s begun.
It’s an ordinary day, nothing
to alarm, nothing to frighten or warn.

They walked through the market and she chose
wind chimes for her souvenir.  All the way home
her bag would not be quiet.

Think of any sentence
and attach to it a meaning:
Brad  walks to the store. [Brad is leaving.]

Mary has lost her keys. [Mary has some
deep psychological problem that prevents her
from remembering where she puts things.]

 The sky is blue.  [The sky looks blue to us,
or what we all agree to call blue.]
We lack imagination more than we lack

consensus.  So, yes, call the sky blue.
Call things by the names they’ve been
assigned—memory, birthday, patent leather,

wind chime—and the story can continue.
Under the high windows, a garden hose
coils.  Across the street, a dog barks.  I told you

it was an ordinary day.  You trust me,
don’t you?  Trust me to tell you
what you need to know?  I will.

I will: a huge crystal vase,
the tiny wrist of a child.
Talk of stitches.

Talk of scars.  The party’s over
and I’ve told you nothing.
I forgot to mention all the blood.


© by Margot Schilpp


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