By Elaine Terranova
Remember the man
describing a typhoon?
“It was like being sucked down
into a giant garbage disposal.”
You take his word for it,
you take it with you
into sleep, like your own last words.
That’s how it is with you.
Then every day you wake and go out
and move things around.
Quiet falls in beside you
like those Swedes in rabbit-fur boots,
the slanting church spire, snow.
On TV a young woman
embraces the weather, gathers it
from a large chalk board.
Sunny tonight, she says, warmer,
which gives us all hope
for the lengthening shadows.
Galileo was the first to look up
at the stars and know they were
being born and decaying all at once,
because in the long run
time didn’t matter, heaven changed,
it wasn’t reliable.
And at the equator, bulging waist
of the planet, think how it feels
with a sunburn at night—
like staring out from neon.
Elaine Terranova’s most recent book is Not To: New and Selected Poems. She has new work appearing in Pleiades, Ploughshares, and Cincinnati Review. She won the Walt Whitman Award for her first book of poems, The Cult of The Right Hand. She has been Banister Writer in Residence at Sweet Briar College and has received an NEA Fellowship in Literature. In 2006 she was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Poetry. She teaches at the Community College of Philadelphia and in the Rutgers, Camden MFA Creative Writing Program.