National Poetry Month Day 9: “Letter to the Winding-Sheet” by Camille Rankine


Letter to the Winding-Sheet

After the snowfall, snowfall
jewels my hair, my church shoes

muddy the bedspread. Crazy, you
called me, not much of a lady.

Flip up the light switch.
A child, I act a child.

At night I hold a postcard:
two plums adorn

a plum tree, what we could be.
The door tight in its door frame,

the window keeps
shutting on me.

In every dream I dream
I am asleep, your fingers

closed around my wrists.
Your breathing steals the room.

You won’t explain my shrinking
vision, why I never knew enough

about the topiary—every limb
is a root, every tree a tree.

Camille Rankine

Camille Rankine is the author of Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of America’s 2010 New York Chapbook Fellowship. Her poetry has appeared in American Poet, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM and POOL: A Journal of Poetry. She is Program and Communications Coordinator at Cave Canem Foundation and lives in New York City.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →