Friday Poem


That’s right! Now I remember. I was on the beach
looking at Haystack Rock,
putting my finger into the mouths of sea anemones,
their tentacles sweeping over my knuckles, I was whispering
the word brother
to one, and the word sister to the other
though maybe they were both. I wanted to be close
to another species. I had been reading about the dark windows
Akhmatova looked through
to see if her son had been let out of prison. As I walked around
the shallow pools
feeling like I had done a good job being myself
I heard my third-grade teacher
whisper into my ear
what’s wrong with you? You want to be stupid your whole life?
She was a nun and wore, I imagined,
a rosary of barbed wire underneath her white blouse.
No matter how long I put my finger into the natural world,
no matter how often I mistake the flies
above the trash for stars, Akhmatova’s son will still be chained
against a wall, the sea will still push
against the rock, and a part of me will be sitting near
a window in homeroom, my head lowered, my skeleton warm
inside my body, my brothers and sisters alive in the salty pools of
the world.

by Matthew Dickman
from Mayakovsky's Revolver
publisher: Norton

Anna Akhmatova