Deena Metzger, “Leavings”

I want what is left: 
The tea leaves, the soiled images on cards, 
The gasp of words as meaning slips away, 
The rinds of the alphabet, 
The chewed poems of prisoners, 
The bones and the skeletons, 
The secretions, the shattered sperm, 
The blind blood, the phlegm and the cough. 

It has always been women’s work to prepare the corpse. 

But, I will not make a corpse from these elements, 
I will make a child. 
I will make you such a rose of a child, 
A rose of a child held in the crook 
Of the dark hand of a dead branch, 
I will make you a child shining 
Like an angel from these elements of dark, 
And the child will sing. 

This is what we have 
This is what we have to work with. 

So give them to me, 
First your dead, moldering 
In the dreadful heat of your deserted cities, 
Then give me the iron birds in the sky, 
With their demented warbling, 
Last, I want your radiant soul 
With its eternal shimmer. 
Give me everything mangled and bruised, 
And I will make a light of it to make you weep, 
And we will have rain, 
And begin again.




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