Our National Poetry Month project comes to an end two days after the end of the month, but we close with a special treat–a poem from the next book selection by the Rumpus Poetry Book Club, Life On Mars by Tracy K. Smith. I hope you’ve enjoyed these poems as much as I did while curating this project.
The women all sing when the pain is too much.
But first there is a deep despairing silence.
I don’t know what rocks in them, what wants
To knock them clear. Not just the child,
Who knows only to obey. This something
Takes them from chatter, to a silly dance,
Down to all fours begging to die. Then
It drags them up by the hair, or lays them out flat
And strikes them on the head. Then they see it,
So bright it should be death, commanding now.
And again, after a pause. Now. Nothing else
Is there between it and them. It burns the air,
Singes sound. Their voices sink deep into themselves,
Down through flesh into the body’s own hell. Sometimes
It takes forever for that song only the animals know
To climb back up into air as if to burst the throat.