Sunday, June 15, 2008

Forms of Intercession Poems by Jayne Pupek

Dear Caleb


Jayne Pupek

How can I explain? You were small and indifferent.
Maybe I craved the sound of a vacant house,
no voices or footsteps,
no one seeking me out with a litany of needs
I couldn't fill. Maybe I wanted to spare us both
that moment when we'd awake, mother and child,
hating each other. I'd be lying if I said
I'd had second thoughts. I can't tell you if the notion
floated into my mind that day or if it had been there all along,
a seed wedged in the crease of my brain.
The certainty of what I was about to do, the unwavering course-
how can I break those into segments you might comprehend?
I was compelled to take the life I'd given you.
The sequences unfolded like the scene in a play,
you sitting on the floor with a fistful of crayons,
me in the next room, kneeling by the tub,
waiting for he water level to rise
before I called your name.

from Forms of Intercession
Mayapple Press
Reprinted with author's permission.

I often wonder what the moment is like before a change. I think about how trees grow. We can't watch this growth yet it happens. Our minds are not hardwired to view such small subtle increments of transformation. Cameras can capture this slow motion growth.

In terms of people I think about how fragile our lives are, how things can transform in a split second by a word or action. What is that moment like before an action occurs that can change a life for the better or the worst forever?

Something totally unthinkable is about to happen in Jayne Pupek's poem. Pupek captures this time before change. I found this a powerful poem.

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