Guest Poet Rachel Dacus

Day of the May-Born

Here's the day named for being, scary
but cherished as the millennium's catapult
into a chasm of zeroes. Waking wary,
you move into the morning's arms, exult
and tremble that you even exist and are
at this moment the only ear anywhere
who hears in the woodpecker's churr
the key of a policeman's whistle. Birth's
happenstance, you think, must conspire
with daily accidents of loveliness
a jailer's ring of oak leaves, blue fire
cape of a jay slung onto the grass.
A spider-bite word, ache for an absent friend
can hardly faze a day so earth heavened.

September, 2000

Rachel Dacus's Questions:

1.  General comments on this use of the sonnet form.

2.  What mood or atmosphere does this poem evoke for you?

3.  What do you think of the ending line; is it effective or excessive?

Gifts of the Dead

Last night we walked up and down the hills,
tore off pieces of time's bright paper.
I wasn't surprised, forgot you were dead
as we raced in hide-and-seek. Your smile
held something back. I suspected
it was a can of black-eyed peas,
a pot of Southern luck to stew up
a year I can believe in. You had stories
in your pockets, dusted your fingers with them.
As we talked, your Texas drawl was a lazy rope
around a laugh. It stayed behind
when I awoke. Gifts of the dead are closed
circles that run beside me all day, spinning
off the luminous threads of a finished story.
Odd how you rise today in the clatter
of a rake on pavement, the violet scent
of smoking leaves piled on the dark earth.
I feel you behind my shoulder,
saying "Go ahead." That's how it is
with the ones who are done, who are always
ready to wrap a tissue of conspiracy
around afternoon's solemn light.

September, 2000

Rachel Dacus's Questions:

1.  Your opinion on the second line's metaphor?

2.  What mood does this poem evoke for you?

3.  Does the conclusion strike you as effective?

The Albany Poetry Workshop