Photo by Matt Phillips
By Lynne Knight
Tear the line into pieces.
Open it out:
Let silence be
part of all that must be
I can’t. I can’t.
It looks so disorganized. I want
to move it like furniture
back into place.
It’s a curse, your obsession for order,
my lover says, wanting me
So, to justify myself, I point out
that light in the night sky
may be traveling, but the stars stay
where they are.
Or do they?
What if some night Cassiopeia
splashed down like water?
What use the well-appointed bed,
the vacuumed rug,
the alphabetically arranged books
if a star came splashing down
like water, fiery water,
burning everything in its path?
All my molecules about to scatter—
just the thought of it makes me clutch
the sheets, press myself into the mattress—
but ah, the wonder of it, to be
moving inside my lover’s
arms then, any second bound
(Today’s poem originally appeared in Rattle , and appears here today with permission from the poet.)
Lynn Knight‘s fourth collection, Again, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2009. Her previous collections are Dissolving Borders (Quarterly Review of Literature), The Book of Common Betrayals (Bear Star Press), and Night in the Shape of a Mirror (David Robert Books), plus three award-winning chapbooks. A cycle of poems on Impressionist winter paintings, Snow Effects (Small Poetry Press), has been translated into French by Nicole Courtet. Knight’s awards include a Theodore Roethke Award from Poetry Northwest, a Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, an NEA grant, and the 2009 RATTLE Poetry Prize. She lives in Berkeley, California.
Editor’s Note: The desire for order and the need to control. So tempting. And yet, what control have we in the face of nature? In the face of love? We can try to keep this life as tidy as we like, but what use are our efforts in the face of a falling star? From the macro to the meta, today’s poem takes us on a wild journey through the mind of a poet who struggles against the wild, only to succumb to the wonder of what is beyond her control.