trestle turn around
Cooler. Breezier. Overcast. Too many cars rushing past me on the road. Listened to my audio book for a while then took out my headphones. Played chicken with a woman running up by the lake street bridge. I was running to the right, furthest from zooming bikes that might be coming up the hill behind me, she was to the left, also hugging the rail. She wouldn’t move, probably because she was oblivious. I wouldn’t move either because I’m stubborn and need rules, like always stay to the right, because my eyes don’t always work and I can’t see if someone is coming. I was prepared to run into her if she didn’t move, which I recognize is somewhat ridiculous but I get really angry when people don’t pay attention in these simple ways. As someone who can’t always see, other people’s refusal to care can be dangerous. The good news: just a minute or two after that, I completely forgot about it and enjoyed the rest of my run. Didn’t stop to walk at all and looked at the river at least once, but forgot to check if there were any stacked stones on the big old boulder.
I love this poem. I love Maggie Smith. Her mix of joy and grief is so great. So much I love about this poem. Here’s a list:
- the focus on lists and their connection to and
- lists of not quite grievances, lists of things loved
- describing a fear of death as not wanting to be in the dirt
- the desire for two parts bees humming to one part bee sting
- idea of repetitions and a workout
- rhyming hum with tongue
- the flow of the couplets
Let’s Not Begin/Maggie Smith
Let’s not begin the poem with and,
though it begins that way
in spirit: one in a long list of—
let’s not call them grievances.
I’m trying to love the world,
I am, but is it too much
to ask for two parts bees
vibrating their cups of pollen,
humming a perfect A note,
to one part sting?
Worry and console, worry
and console: it’s how I stay
in shape. See, I’m sweating.
Some nights my daughter cries,
I don’t want to be in the dirt,
and this is what I call a workout.
My heart’s galloping hell
and gone from the paddock—
I don’t want to be in the dirt
because I’ll miss you—
and there’s no stopping me.
But let’s not end
with the heart as horse,
fear-lathered, spooked deaf.
I’m trying, I am, for her.
If I list everything I love
about the world, and if the list
is long and heavy enough,
I can lift it over and over—
repetitions, they’re called, reps—
to keep my heart on, to keep
the dirt off. Let’s begin
with bees, and the hum,
and the honey singing
on my tongue, and the child
sleeping at last, and, and, and—