Poem of the Week: “Unmarked,” by Tim Seibles

japanese-koi-500x500

Unmarked

for Natalie

 

So much like sequins

the sunlight on this river.

Something like that kiss—

 

remember?

Fourth of July, with the moon

down early    the air moved

 

as if it were thinking,

as if it had begun

to understand

 

how hard it is

to feel at home

in the world,

 

but that night

she found a place

just above your shoulder

 

and pressed her lips

there. Soft rain

 

had called off the fireworks:

the sky was quiet, but

back on Earth

 

two boys cruised by on bikes

trying out bad words. You turned

to reach her mouth,

 

at last, with yours    after weeks

of long walks, talking

 

about former loves

gone awry—

 

how the soul finally

falls down

 

and gets up alone

once more

 

finding the city strange,

the streets unmarked.

 

Every time you meet someone

it’s hard not to wonder

 

who they’ve been—one story

breaking so much

 

into the next: memory

engraves its hesitations—

 

but that night

you found yourself

unafraid. Do you remember

 

what the wind told the trees

about her brown hair?—

how the cool dark turned around:

 

that first kiss,

long as a river.

 

Didn’t it seem like you already loved her?

 

Off the sidewalk: a small pond,

the tall cattails, all those sleepy koi

 

coloring the water.

 

 

Center for Poetry intern Estee Schlenner had this to say about her choice of “Unmarked” this week:
I like this poem so much because, as a poet, it is difficult to write about love or most sentimental feelings, without leaning into clichés. I think Seibles walked that line perfectly. He spoke of love and a first kiss, while making it about so much more than that. I think it’s very admirable when a poet can write a poem like this because it’s a very difficult task to accomplish.

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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