Poem Therapy 12:10 PM 13 March 2013: Immortality - Craig Morgan Teicher

I feel like Emily Dickinson did, running her pale finger over each blade of grass, then caressing
each root in the depths of the earth's primeval dirt, each tip tickling heaven's soft underbelly. I
feel like Emily alone in her room, her hands folded neatly in her lap, waiting forever for one of
those two daguerreotypes to embalm her precious soul. 

        At my most attuned, the present is a pair of wings stretching forever in all directions,
flapping calmly, calmly flapping. But as soon as I notice how happy I am, how close to the sun,
there I go plummeting into the background of the same damn painting as ever.

        If I could reach my hand out to you now, would you take it? How do you think it would
feel? Warm and soft and certain? Or like Emily's: clammy and brittle as hardened paste? Is that
not how you imagine her hands? Look again—they were like that, otherwise she could never,
would never, have written those poems.


Dear Craig Morgan Teicher,

I imagine Emily's hands would be cool and small, the tiny bones prisoners, wrapped inside my own warm hand.

Although the image of Emily's hands as clammy and brittle as hardened paste is stark in its desert bone beauty, I respectfully suggest that you take another look at the poet's hands, folded into each other like sleeping birds in the folds of her skirts.

Emily's hands are innocent. Her eyes reveal the ice chip pressed into her heart. By whom? it is uncertain.

Yes, her eyes and the faint pressure of lips pressing into each other communicates her unapologetic capacity to send us, her readers, plummeting like Icarus into Breughel's green ocean, with her unflinching words and criminal dashes.

But those hands, those unblemished, supple hands wrote hope is a thing with feathers.


P.S. I am curious which other poets you have pulled their flayed skins up over your own and walked around inside.

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