A Sonnet by Diane Seuss

From the Collection frank: sonnets

March 31, 2021  By Diane Seuss

Poetry, the only father, landscape, moon, food, the bowl
of clam chowder in Nahcotta, was I happy, mountains
of oyster shells gleaming silver, poetry, the only gold,
or is it, my breasts, feet, my hands, index finger,
fingernail, hangnail, paper cut, what is divine, I drove
to the sea, wandered aimlessly, I stared at my tree, I said
in my mind there’s my tree, there’s my tree I said in my mind,
I remember myself before words, thrilled at my parents’
touch, opened milkweed with no agenda, blew the fluff,
no reaching for comparison, to be free of signification,
wriggle out of the figurative itchy sweater, body, breasts,
vulva, little cave of the uterus, clit, need, touch, come, I came
before I knew what coming was, iambic pentameter, did I
feel it, does language eclipse feeling, does it eclipse the eclipse.

There is a certain state of grace that is not loving.
Music, Kurt says, is not a language, though people
say it is. Even poetry, though built from words,
is not a language, the words are the lacy gown,
the something else is the bride who can’t be factored
down even to her flesh and bones. I wore my own
white dress, my hair a certain way, and looked into
the mirror to get my smile right and then into my own
eyes, it’s rare to really look, and saw I was making
a fatal mistake, that’s the poem, but went through
with it anyway, that’s the music, spent years in
a graceful detachment, now silence is my lover, it does
not embrace me when I wake, or it does, but its embrace
is neutral, like God, or Switzerland since 1815.


frank: sonnets

Excerpted from frank: sonnets. Used with the permission of the publisher, Graywolf Press. Copyright © 2021 by Diane Seuss. 

Diane Seuss
Diane Seuss
Diane Seuss is the author of frank: sonnets, Still Life With Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, winner of the Juniper Prize. She lives in Michigan.

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