I have to admit that, over the last couple of days, I've been experiencing a little anxiety about being Poet Laureate. It's a silly, unfounded anxiety, rooted in self-doubt and mixed with a little what-the-hell-do-I-do-now panic.
I simply have to take things one day at a time. See what unfolds. I wrote a poem once about fear. I found it tonight, and it gave me a little peace of mind.
Saint Marty is going to do the best job he can.
by: Martin Achatz
My sister Rose spoke with the Virgin
One night when lightning laced
The sky and thunder rolled
Like a wailing ambulance.
Rose, with black hair, eyes dark
As baker's chocolate. Rose, who listened
To the rain drill the ground, felt terror
In her chest, blooming like a mushroom.
Rose, with Down's Syndrome,
Her speech thick,
Weighing on her tongue like rust.
She knew nothing of atmospheres,
Weather fronts, lightning that traveled
From the ground to the heavens
Like a white hot soul. She knew
Nothing of raining frogs,
Hailstones the size of peach pits.
Hers was a child's fear, as simple
As shadow in a closet.
When she knelt at the foot of her bed,
Folded small fingers,
Her prayers opened like sunflowers
In the still air.
Mother found Rose that night,
Speaking with the darkness.
She looked like moonlight, her words
Agates, smooth, round, polished.
Rose, imperfect since birth,
Slower than summer heat,
Filled the room with light.
Anne came upon her daughter
Like that, too, Mary in the dark,
Her childhood fears sitting
On the windowsill like empty bowls
Waiting for rain.
Mary spread her arms,
Wrapped them around the angel,
Pressing her mouth to his neck.
She tasted lightning and shadow
On his bright skin, swallowed them,
Felt them take root
In her belly. She opened
Her robe, guided his lips
To her boy chest,
In her rose nipple.