Two Poems

by Barbara Rockman

​​Insomniac at the Edge of a Dry Lakebed              
                                       Great Basin, Oregon
 
Thank you goddess of sleep interruptus
            turbulence that chafes 
            and breaks dream to sunrise
 
Some here are lovers of wind
            eyes cleared by it   souls ignite 
            but I am sated by breeze
 
            by less rattle and creak
            less tree snap  less bluster
                                                I am of genus   soft cheek
 
The locust tree wags its reprimands–
 
            what went unharvested?
            what incomplete? 
 
            waves lists and ledgers
            that won’t add up
            refuses to let you speak
 
                        you of the slat-ceilinged cloister
                        you of the 5-windowed cell
                        you of red-roofed pried-open lids
 
who sleeps in intervals–
            drought and delight
            rain and wind
 
Still thyself
            for you approach the hereafter
            days ahead of do without
 
All you’ve recorded will be snipped from the book
            you think you live in  
            pond   playa   gold grasses
            orchard    closed gate   ice-veined ridge    
 
Confirm it now:  
            willow whip and whistle
            glass creak    yellow apples stolen
 
                                                                        before you reached​

Reverie On The Frayed World

Moths gnaw hung fabric as I sleep.
Shaken into morning, the once tight-knit is
chapel of collapsed glass, windows grilled
with what thin fibers sag and sway.
 
open weave      unravel       give way 
 
When my small daughter studied the roiled clouds
and spied a snatch of blue at their center she said,
God’s room.  Daily, I walk a reckoning
with what prayer and language can do.
 
 break      re-align      split
 
I never taught my daughters to mend,
backstitch, hem. Is it too late
to thread a needle, snip a patch,
hum them toward how a world heals?
 
knot     repair      render whole
 
In the shop of scissors and patterns
I study tiered spools, lineated dawn to night.
Heaps of looped yarn, a hundred heathered tones.
 
I choose remnants to fill bitten space,
address my daughters’ awkward hands:
Consider shrink and give. Leave extra thread.
 
We steady the needle’s eye, 
enter failed fiber,
suture the impossible,
exhale.
 

Barbara Rockman is author of "Sting and Nest," winner of the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award and the National Press Women Book Prize. Her poems appear in numerous anthologies and journals including Calyx, Bellingham Review, Louisville Review, Cimarron, terrain.org and Nimrod. She teaches poetry in Santa Fe, NM at Santa Fe Community College, in private workshops and with victims of domestic violence as workshop coordinator for Wingspan Poetry Project. Recent residencies include PLAYA at Summer Lake and Atlantic Center for the Arts.