This poem is one result of a project I took on in 2017-2019 as a coping mechanism after the 2016 election. I would give a tarot reading to a person I admire, take a week or so to process and take notes, then share with them a first draft of a poem inspired by the cards, our conversation, and whatever of the world had leaked in during that time. It made space for meaningful, unmediated communication about both fear and hope—more hope, in fact, than I had expected. (If someone is still deeply engaged with a question, they still have hope.) The resulting poems pleased by further muddying the lyric “I.” In a time when intellect was/is failing on a global scale to solve problems, this has been one way to listen, to trust and honor additional ways of knowing: personal, intuitive, collaborative, mythic, mystic.
Notes toward my
Consider that if the old heartbreaks
demand to stay, at least their decay
feeds the root systems of us. Consider
the vacated husks of whatever
water bug a dragonfly was
until recently, ghost-clasped
to the cabin front like wee
The lapping waves disco-glint
sunshine: another way nature packages
light, that private thing we have
inside us even when. Even when you retreat
to your cave, so to speak, which you must
luckily do, consider smallest generosities: stones
everywhere nursing the lichens and the mosses,
the eternity underfoot. Then
consider those chartreuse dragonflies
above the water like wheeeeeeee!
There is no most convenient time to erupt
from the in-between, newly winged.
Except for now, I mean.
Paula Cisewski's poetry collection, Quitter, won the Diode Editions Book Prize. She is also the author of The Threatened Everything, Ghost Fargo (Nightboat Poetry Prize winner, selected by Franz Wright), Upon Arrival, and several chapbooks, including the lyric prose Misplaced Sinister. She lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches writing privately and academically, makes things, and collaborates with fellow artists and activists. www.paulacisewski.com
Paula's Book Recommendations
Counter-Desecrations: A Glossary for Writing within the Anthropocene Linda Russo and Marthe Reed, editors (Wesleyan University Press, 2018)
White Blight, Athena Farrokhzad (Argos Books, 2015)
Dangerous Goods, Sean Hill (Milkweed, 2014)
Safe Houses I Have Known, Steve Healey (Coffee House Press, 2019)
Pilot, Danika Stegeman LeMay (Spork Press, 2020)