05.27.2008

What We Get (a poem by Katie Ford)

I waited for a silence with its boards stripped off,
its sills pried away, all glasswork, all September light
with no latch. And when it came,

sometimes it was easy to think of nothing at all, have no question
at all, to sit and stare at the cracked, orange house next door
where the rodents scurried in and out, storing

green bulbs dropped from our trees—olive nuts, our choked-back eyes—
for the mild southern winter in which nothing dies,
only goes a way a while.

I wanted the far away. I wanted not to feel
caught. Look at the myrtle tree pulling up the yard.
Look at the belief I can’t live by, how it didn’t follow
but was here before me like the fields of tall, planted cane

where anything can be hidden. I think this is
what we get when we ask to be saved:
a land where everything grows, and there are many killings.

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