I haven’t written any poetry in a long time, but I’m trying to work something up to enter the Montpelier-based “Poetry Alive” competition. It needs to be trimmed, but here’s draft one. Comments as always appreciated!


A narrow place


Descent:

Cold, shivering bones at 18

a narrow splinter of a person

I wondered how far I could take this campaign against my flesh

 

I

made friends on the basis of this skeleton

friends who wanted for me this existence

this always, enduring mizraim*; a narrow place.

 

Shunning riches of sweet and savory,

I fell into and against the narrow

clawing at the walls

the boundaries

of the place.

 

Redemption:

This is nourishment, I am told

to meet hunger with open hands, a

heaping portion

of self-love and accept myself, broken,

full and hurting in all the wrong places

 

I am, always

and forever

too much.

 

Ascent:

Fist to palm, palm to hand

outstretched

this I grant myself, reluctantly.

 

Finding in the depths a seed

I am pulled from the narrow,

and extricate myself from its folds

 

This place has become too slender

and I am saturated with its reality, so trading, helping for helping,

what has been for what will be:

a continued push outward and upward.

* mizraim: the Hebrew word for the land of Egypt. In the Passover story, the term is used to describe the constraints and boundaries of the enslavement of the Jewish people.

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