V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




They emerge, surprise and storm, into the light
they blink under. See the attempts
to stuff them under the couch cushion
or the rug, to wrestle them to the floor. Help
them enter into the treaty of civility—
no fussing around the neighbor’s wife, no revealing
the location of the treasure. Pick the lock
that conceals marrow and rhinestone, the stuff
of fantasy that subsumes
Sunday dinners with family and the nitty-gritty

fill-the-car-with-gas necessity driving
us into the poles. There is no sense
asking to take yourself off the list. There’s no chance
to restore your good name. I can't tell you
how many bundles of bills are lodged
in your fireplace or whether daffy Aunt Minna
meant to leave a beautiful pile of stone
to her favorite cat. I can’t even tell you
that the future is worth getting to.
Some of the bright stars twinkle into nonsense,

but I know they’re not nudging me.
I know the small miracles of every clean basket
of laundry and the origin of not telling.
But not telling holds the whole of history
hostage to the possibility of light. Two little
girls try to sell lemonade and cookies,
but their futures depend on a hundred million
people, all of whom have things not to tell.
Hear that silence loudly and know: the blessing
of a secret is not in the keeping but in the telling.


© by Margot Schilpp


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