Monday Mar 27

McGrathLeslie Leslie McGrath is a poet and essayist. Her work has appeared in Agni online, Alimentum, Beloit Poetry Journal, DIAGRAM, Poetry Ireland, and elsewhere. McGrath also conducts literary interviews, which have appeared in the Writer’s Chronicle and on public radio. Winner of the 2004 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, her first collection of poetry, Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage, won the Main Street Rag Poetry award (2009) is a finalist for the CT Book award.  She edited (with Ravi Shankar) Radha Says, the posthumous poetry collection of Reetika Vazirani, published by Drunken Boat Press. She is the former managing editor of Drunken Boat online journal of the arts.  This poem was made possible by a grant from the Beatrice Fox Auerbach foundation.

“As if from a distance”
As if from a distance      not a great distance
a distance three inches past the reach of      say
a fist
a blast of verbal ordnance
delivered time & time & time after time
by one who made you
by one who is charged with your care
there is a place for waiting
afloat       awatch      aware
not-here       so not harmed.
Imagine an imagination startled into action
without practice      without rules
and too soon
an imagination daily startled
by sudden terror
by a fact you are not supposed to know     (and few ever know)
until you are old:
that death is near
death is always near
There is no blue for this distance
no clock       no coordinates
in this place of
where the imagination
though never having known it
imagines safety.