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Poetry

or something in the sight
adjusts itself to midnight….
—Emily Dickinson

For a while, I’ve been considering nothing.
The nothing my grandmother refused
and my grandmother’s grandmother,
all of them stretching back
through the void with their kinds of certainty
bracing the light of the stars.

In the Methodist church, my grandmother
opened her hymnal, her lips opening
with the surge of voices in the chamber,
the bodies of church members
lined up on either side of her like piano keys,
their mismatched pitches
staggered and chimed.

I like to think of her eyeing
brass candlesticks at the altar
and a minister’s black and white cloth,
the minds around her
all thinking about the same thing
or trying to—a harmonious trying,

and to think of her reading pages
of the Bible in bed before she turned
off the lamp and turned to sleep,
her hair on a pale blue pillowcase,
her eyes upholding the tarnished
gold edges, the ivory horizon
behind words after they closed.


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