by Emma Donnelly
SHARP TEETH, SHARP CLAWS
Someone once said in a heavy lean,
Sleeping in a subway car has heart, but this heart yearns for where a bed once was.
Dreams, crossing between the lines of awakening, remembering
We were born listening to calls for reinforcements, stepping care footed along bones,
post by post, rivals blurred, bleeding.
We were raised to bare sharp teeth and sharp claws.
But when we came home to rest,
with no inner remorse, only indignation for life taken,
They called us out of our house, sent in the blockaders of the swift fleeted banker,
Working like a seamstress taking in the hems of our home.
Stitching doors and windows shut
where we were born, listening to calls for reinforcements.
A dream crossed between the lines of white fenceless wonder.
We sat still and moved in strangled smile,
shoulder to shoulder, pressing the glass,
looking on in anguish at each other for making things harder,
for being in the same state, fishing for the same dark poisoned snake.
Now we are shaking off our own distrust.
When earlier I took my cues on any other Tuesday, in line at the bank,
wheezing ink on the pad as the signator of an account withdrawn.
I, breathing onto the glass at the teller, she stroking the keys.
When earlier I was overcome with a languid fatigue,
the serpentine exhaustion that heavy dust will evoke.
Where I wished I could crouch down hands on the floor singing, ready to spring up!
And shout "The most painful breathing is done in front of a teller,
Where we are so close, each breath presses to meet at the bullet proof glass
like a kiss after the visitation hour passed."
Where Freedom was the breathing done on our own free time.
When Free time, an isolated freedom, was a movement limited by someone else's ribs.
Where yearning now is lung pushing against skin,
pushing against the knit blue rug, the green screen marking me,
the glass, the dreams of a bank teller.
We push harder and threaten its shape, leaning heavily.
Now all I want is to affect change,
know more, breathe
love more, breathe
be more, breathe.
Where the national conquest is scraping by,
stumbling and keeping warm in the gums of a wolf,
our power gives way to movement, uncertainty and heart.
And outside of the glass
thirty thousand rebels, rioters, migrants, workers, lovers, artists
call out, create,
shout power, create.
Hands are thrown up, not pleading but shaping.
Hands are thrown up ,
Not to say to the youth, "do better cuz we tried already"
but "let's get out there together,
and hand in fist."
We are not indifferent, ignorant, naive.
We spread heart wings.
From the salt ditches, where this heart yearns for where a bed once was
What else can be done?
With all the knowledge we encompass, all these teeth and claws?
Born listening to calls for reinforcements,
And now in the absence of digging graves and taking away
what is found in the soil there
what will be done?
We know the Earth is bone through and through, and we go on dancing,
And the glass changes shape, pulling in the heat,
Reflecting the night bright with eyes and heart yearning.
We lean heavily.
Poem posted in this space: December 24, 2011
To contact Emma Donnelly send an email to: email@example.com