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  • Elaine Fletcher Chapman

WHat We Know

Close your eyes. Write from a place of knowing.  I answer, but I don’t want to write about what I know today. Recovering from a broken shoulder: scapular stabilization, abduction, retractions, mobilization. And what about the right hip: bone on bone, bone spurs, surgery in May. What happened to immersion in poetry, writing and reading? Quickly I order Jane Hirshfields’s new books: The Beauty and Ten Poems: How Great Poems Transform the World. I need transformation. Next day delivery. I resist the download. And just now, an email rejection from Boulevard. Good luck placing this with another magazineThis? What? 5 poems for Boulevard ? Okay. In a minute I will open the document, read the poems word by word and revise. Let them sit and then send them out again. This is what I know: write, revise, wait, wait, wait, and send.

I don’t want to reread Jane Kenyon’s Having it Out with Melancholy, pg. 189 although I know reading offers solace …I am overcome/ by ordinary contentment and How I love the small, swiftly/ beating heart of the bird/ singing in the great maples;/ its bright, unequivocal eye, offers recovery. I search for bliss in every cell. I would settle for contentment rather than discontent, divine or otherwise. I know the robins arrived and the pansies recovered from the snow, all purple and yellow. I can drive again. I can drive to Grandview and look across the Chesapeake to the Eastern Shore.  I remind myself to stay with the sensation of sand under my feet. Locate your center. Hear my daughter’s voice: we must love the process. Her programming, my poems. It’s what we know but need to remember.  The practice, the patience. What we know.

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