after a poem by Mark Strand
There is an open field inside me; it is night, and I praise the spangle of stars. I praise the black silk purse of sky that has never yet snapped shut. I praise the tarnished moon and the silver clasp on the necklace of Being. I praise the river that flows nearby and that other one inside you, with its levees and secret sloughs. I praise the night-flying black-crowned heron and the helpless minnow clamped in its beak. I praise the earthworm’s muddy snout, along with my amazement that he can toil underground all his life, and by instinct alone. I praise the cockroach’s understanding of age and necessity and the spider’s abandoned crochet work, its grandmotherly intricacy. I praise the dispersed atoms of the Buddha’s feet. I praise Dickinson’s white dress and her hand-sewn fascicles. I praise Akhmatova’s “Yes, I can” in the prison queue in Leningrad, that shadow of a smile on what was once a face. I praise the clock for stopping at 10:03 PM, when the battery ran out. I praise the drunks in their weakness jails and the gamblers with their come-hell-or-highwater hearts. I praise this late summer poem for having been born. I praise the tiny swallowtail butterfly, which has landed on the white buddleia, for surviving its lonely metamorphosis, and I praise the sun when it comes to call, for I am still alive to see it after all.
Susan Kelly-Dewitt | Sometimes in Autumn Contents | Mudlark No. 46 (2012)