Listen to Janet Smith read this poem:
I Could Say It
Because of the juniper, its twisted
body, the purpling of berries
on branches, the warmed bark, like the fur
of a bear asleep in the sun,
the birdhouse on its great limb,
I bought the cabin.
I didn’t know who I was.
I stayed inside the painted walls,
waiting for a signal to go outside. Light
swung through the juniper; a pair
of chickadees left the birdhouse's
small black mouth.
The chickadees called
in their same three notes. I understood
how I could say a prayer. I could say it
to anything: a star singled out,
the air filling with snow,
a cloud shaped like a question mark.
One prayer, over and over,
a charm against staying under a roof,
against five rooms of furniture,
the changeless noon of lamps.
I knew I had to buy back my body.
There are no signals, only hours.
|Janet Smith is on faculty in the English department at Lake Tahoe Community College. Her first book of poetry, All of a Sudden, is forthcoming from Cherry Grove.