Here, this would've made a timely poem
             for yesterday. Hold on to it
             to read back to me tomorrow
             when I'll've forgotten it all again
             and can't think of the names for things
             and you. Let it come. Let it come.
             Here then, this poem will be for yesterday
             when I was taken back to the Saturday
             downtown farmer's market. So familiar
             it all used to be, according to my notes.
             The melons and eggplant and piles of beans
             and squash and brussel sprouts and fall peas.
             All the scents I should know by their names,
             the oils and the herbs and the spices.
             Faces that smile to see me back doing so well.
             I came home with onions and green tomatoes
             and cucumbers and tarragon and sweet cicely.
             Here then, let this poem be yesterday's
             when I bought vinegar and sea salt
             and spent the afternoon pickling.
             Preserving. For future consumption.
             Here then, this poem can be pickled,
             what was freshly picked yesterday
             salted away for tomorrow. Let it come.
             Here, yesterday. I sit staring at these jars.
             I won't remember them after the next time.
             I won't know their names. I'll know the words
             but won't make the connections to tastes.
             I sit and stare. I scratch a few words down
             trying to make a label. Sweet pickled onions.
             I stare more. Here, this is for yesterday
             or today, when fresh, when preserved.
             I look up today's date and add it to my label.
             Sunday. September 9. I add the year: 2012.
             I sit and wait for more words. These mean nothing.
             They will not bring back yesterday to me,
             not after I've let it come again. Let it come.
             Backwater. This stretch of water is for then.
             Let it come. Let it come. Let it come.
             Am I next in line on your god's hit list?
             You belong to him. He can't reach me.
             So like the others picked off one by one,
             will he send me away to lull you to sleep
             and get you to forget? Let it come.
             After everything has been long forgotten
             and after everyone his lies free and clear
             and after even your god's kiss has gone cold,
             here, this poem will be for the yesterday
             we'll've reached. Like the others, let it come.
             Come open this jar of sweet pickled onions
             and taste what's preserved in vinegar and salt
             and know what my simple label can't say,
             what I'll lose when your god sends me away
             and you'll say so, will say let it come.
             Don't take it so seriously. Here, it's a poem.
             It's not like I'm asking to to sacrifice
             who you are. It's just sweet pickled onions,
             just backwater, nothing but yesterday's poem.

1 Response to “Backwater”

  1. 2012.09.10 at 4:15 pm

    Oh I do love this one…really enjoyed how the poem leads up to the final stanza.

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