When Overfull of Pain I

Jorie Graham

lie down on this floor, unnotice, try to recall, stir a little but not in heart, feel rust
coming, grass going, if I had an idea this time, if I could believe in the
cultivation, just piece it together, the fields the sky the wetness in the right spot, it
will recline the earth it does not need your map, the rows you cut into it make their

puzzled argument again, then seed, spring has a look in its eye you should not trust
anymore, just look at it watching you from its ditch, its perch, heavy on the limbs,
not reproach exactly not humour though it could be sly this one who will outlive you
of course, this one who will cost you everything, yes, sly – do you catch my meaning

says the cosmos-laden morning, I will cover you with weeds, I will move towards
beginning but I will not begin again, the marsh gleams does it not, the two
adolescent girls walking through it now, in the reprieve, they remind you, do they
not, a summer frock underneath, a heavy coat over, so ready, the idea of a century

being new beckoning, this one will end, that one we will traverse into via a small
bomb perhaps, and the marsh waits, speckling, unremarkable, but yet you want to
remark it, even by looking away you want to keep it normal, normal you say, rust
can you be normal in me, marsh with your rusty grasses come, bring it again my

normal, a bit frostbitten at the start of the day, but now warming where the horizon
blues, where the wren has alighted right here camouflaged in normalcy, he left one
feather on the ground, I’ll bend to pick it up after he goes, it too is all wings the day,
it flaps its brightness on and the fields flatten, the sun lies oily in the sillion, furrow-

slice, mould. Are you with me. It’s not a good idea this one. The assembly lines, the
jet trails, the idea of prayer, thievery, scaffolds, money, how quickly they all
vanished. The new thing now is not going to be new by the time you read this. And
even as I look at it, trying to feel the seed pushed in, the brimming of those shoots,

the eyes of the hare in the ditch pecked out, the horse standing in the field whose
breath is plume – gaze after gaze I look at this foreign country, which was so ready,
which fell ill suddenly. We were driving along in one century, we took a back road, it
was allowed, there was a herd of goats, we got out to see, they came up to us making

sounds like Latin, they were thin, grey, caked legs with seaweed hair. We looked at
each other. Gradually something passed from one creature to the other. Which one
was I. I want this normal again. Did I remember just now that this all disappeared. I
lie on this floor. I feel the wide slats of the old-growth pine along my back. They

push up into my gravity, I think, I push my place down into place, eyes closed I push
down through the subflooring the foundation into grey soil not touched by light in
centuries. I’ll break it open now. I’ll push into the roots that died when place was
cleared of place. Dismembered roots, here was my zip, my street address. My name.