Poem of the Week: excerpt from “Perihelion: A History of Touch”

 

treeThe following poem is an excerpt from the poem “Perihelion: A History of Touch.” The excerpts below are the third and fourth stanzas out of twelve in the poem. This poem is from the book Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019) by Franny Choi. The original version of this poem is double justified but has been formatted due to the restrictions of this website. You can read the first two parts of the poem on a broadside given out at a reading by the poet on Wednesday, April 17th at 7:00pm in the RCAH Theater, in Snyder-Phillips hall. 

 

Perihelion: A History of Touch

By Franny Choi

                                               Worm Moon

Like any girl, I pulled myself into shreds to test the rumor that

 something with blood like mine could be halved and still whole.

And what did I learn? I buried myself all over the garden, but the

 pieces only sprouted into new riddles: squid leg, spaghetti squash, a

jerking thumb. Their names still sounded like mine; everyone in the

 same dress, chewing dirt to avoid each others’ eyes. I lay down next

to the one beneath the porch, hiding among the oyster shells. Don’t

 cry, I said, but she cried anyway. Her tears fell straight into my eyes.

What a lesson—to watch them float back and forth between us until

we knew each one’s shape. Until we knew, finally, what to do with

them.

 

                                                  Pink Moon
Outside, the colors leapt from the trees. Here, inside, some new

 word was blooming in my underwear—darker than I’d expected. I’d

expected something pink; a slow, sweet trickle. Not this wet tar,

 treacle, dark, like the blood had been stretching inside me for years,

slow-building into a sticky chord, the first falling away. Soil’s been

watered; come play. First stuck, first gum, first hum of pollen,

 calling in the bees and readying to wilt.

 

Find this poem online at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/144599/perihelion-a-history-of-touch

 

 

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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