There are so many wonderful poets I haven’t come across, and Tracy K. Smith was one of them until yesterday, when it was announced that she had won the Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection, Life on Mars. I checked out a copy from the library this afternoon and only just got around to reading some of her work. The following is one of my favorites so far.
“Willed In Autumn”
The room is red, like ourselves
On the inside. We enter
And my heart ticks out its tune
Of soon, soon. I kneel
On the bed and wait. The silence
Behind me is you, shallow breaths
That rustle nothing. This will last.
I grip the sheets, telling time
To get lost. I close my eyes
So the red is darkener now, deep,
A willed distance that backs away
The faster we approach.
I dream a little plot of land and six
Kid goats. Every night it rains.
Every morning sun breaks through
And the earth is firm again under our feet.
I am writing this so it will stay true.
Go for a while into your life,
But meet me come dusk
At a bar where music sweeps out
From a jukebox choked with ragged bills.
We’ll wander back barefoot at night,
Carrying our shoes to save them
From the rain. We’ll laugh
To remember all the things
That slaughtered us a lifetime ago,
And at the silly goats, greedy for anything
Soft enough to crack between their teeth.