I feel like Emily Dickinson did, running her pale finger over each blade of grass, then caressing
each root in the depths of the earth's primeval dirt, each tip tickling heaven's soft underbelly. I
feel like Emily alone in her room, her hands folded neatly in her lap, waiting forever for one of
those two daguerreotypes to embalm her precious soul.
At my most attuned, the present is a pair of wings stretching forever in all directions,
flapping calmly, calmly flapping. But as soon as I notice how happy I am, how close to the sun,
there I go plummeting into the background of the same damn painting as ever.
If I could reach my hand out to you now, would you take it? How do you think it would
feel? Warm and soft and certain? Or like Emily's: clammy and brittle as hardened paste? Is that
not how you imagine her hands? Look again—they were like that, otherwise she could never,
would never, have written those poems.
Included on the Academy's website is Teicher's own discussion of the poem:
"This poem comes from a series of prose poems about 'big ideas' written during a period when I was having trouble writing. To get the juices flowing again, I thought I'd try starting with titles, with big abstract concepts, and see where they led. They ended up leading to a handful of pieces like this, which will be published in a chapbook from Omnidawn later this year." --Craig Morgan Teicher
Teicher is the author of the new release To Keep Love Blurry (BOA, 2012), as well as Cradle Book (BOA, 2010).