Welcome to The Rumpus’s National Poetry Month project. We’ll be running a new poem from a different poet each day for the month of April.
Ghost Keep Us Moving, Stella Said, Think
About a Field at Night, How You’re Aways
surrounded by night-spit
stars-— tips of water-
moccasin fangs, always feeling
so barefoot, so needy toward dark,
its father-like presence—
Goodnight son, goodnight, I’ll see
you in the morning— the assumption
sure as ferns on creek banks,
stiletto heel clicks on marble
dance floors, moving bodies
like sex-cells, trust and
mistrust in a couples’ hands—
that urgency— how a corn stalk
digs for light, a small river
embracing turns, like hands
on hips, slyly coaxing
the curve to new ground.
That’s how night approaches.
I used to lift my parents’
new plants from plastic
containers, examine the roots—
tiny skeleton cities
slick as snakes
in water. The tips, I knew
would tap the water table ‘til the plant
held firm, its ground, the stakes
so big in those cities. The ghosts we need
live in the ground, rush the crust
like adrenaline’s thirsty eyes
sharp enough to tear our sight.