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Poet Wrestling with a Never-Ending Story

A horse sinks deep into a swamp of sadness

but {comes back from it}. We

didn’t. In open water,

altruism is a pod of orcas coming together

to separate baleen

calf from mother. Good faith

is the drowning {of that young whale}

for nearly six hours, for love

is exhaustion until she

has to swim away,

& commitment,

the first bite the first orca takes

while baby is still gasping.

Even non-true fish,

who lack jaws and swim blind at the bottom,

evolve by flesh. {The problem is}

you sink to the sea floor

until it crushes us.

Every day the wind steals

other wind from our sails & the horse

sinks deeper into a single grain of sand.

You say I have to keep my feet on the water.

That nothing can gift you flight,

that most ultra

-marine of belief,

no matter how unyielding

the nothingness might be.

& still the horse

breaks {through}. Because the horse has pinned me

alive & twisting

until we are winged

amulet. Call my

         name. There is no eternity

       where air is enough {to love

& commit}. Because grace is waiting

to pick the first fight & if we

are going to die anyway, wouldn’t you rather die giving

a new name. Speak now. You’ve already chosen it.

from Poetry Northwest Summer & Fall 2018 More by Rosebud Ben-Oni from the library

Copyright © Rosebud Ben-Oni
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

Published in Poems Rosebud Ben-Oni

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.