Dialogue (of the Imagination’s Fear)

Jorie Graham

All around in
           houses near us, the
           layoffs,
           the windows shine back
           sky, it is a
           wonder we
can use the word free and have it mean anything
           to us. We stand still. Let the cold wind wrap round go
           into hair in-
between fingers. The for sale signs are bent and ripple in
           wind. One
had fallen last Fall and snowmelt is re-revealing
           it again. Rattle in groundwind. Siding
           weakening on
           everything. Spring!
           Underneath
           the bulbs want to clear the sill of
           dark and find the
           sun. I see
           them now
under there, in there, soggy with melt, and loam which is loosening as their skins
rot, to let the whitest tendrils out, out they go snaking everywhere, till the
           leaves are blurring, they fur-out, they
           exist! –
           another’s year loan
           to time
itself, and the bud will form in the sleeve of the silky leaf, and they will quietly,
among the slow working pigeons and there where a dog is leaping in almost
           complete invisibility, make slim heads
           thicken – I am ill, you know, says the man walking by,
his dog pulling him, so much joy, and nothing
           will make it more or less, the flower,
as alive as it is dead, above which the girl with earphones walks humming, no one
           has warned her yet she is
           free, but why, says the
           imagination, have you sent me
           down here, down among the roots, as they finally take
hold – it is hard – they wrench, the loam is not easy to open, I cannot say it but the
smell is hope meeting terrifying regret, I would say do not open again, do not go up,
           stay under here there is
           no epoch, we are
           in something but it is not ‘the world’, why try to make
           us feel at
           home down
           here, take away the poem, take away this desire that
has you entering this waste dark space, there are not even pockets of time here,
there are no mysteries, there is no laughter and nothing ever dies, the foreclosure
           you are standing beside look to it, there is a
woman crying on the second floor as she does not understand what it will be like to
not have a home now, and how to explain to the children at 3.35 when the bus drops
           them off,
the root is breaking its face open and shoving up to escape
           towards
           sun – nothing can stop it – though right
now the repo-men have not yet come, the school bus is only just getting loaded up,
the children pooling squealing some stare out the window. Kiss
           the soil as you
pass by. It is coming up to kiss you. Bend down to me, you have placed me here, look
to me on all fours, drink of the puddle, look hard at the sky in there. It is not sky. It is
           not there. The flame of
           sun which will come out just now for a blinding minute
into your eyes is saving nothing, no one, take your communion, your blood is full of
           barren fields, they are the
           future in you you
           should learn to feel and
love: there will be no more: no more: not enough to go around; no more around: no
           more: love that.