Emily Pettit (Massachusettes,USA): Five Poems


I think a bad thought and I am left wondering

if hope should ever be saved and if one was to

save it, then would one need to hide it?

And where would one hide it, if one had to

do so? Say there are ten thousand dead crickets

to deal with, go far away or don't.

Who could have known you could have

done that sort of damage without making

any noise. Your eye thinks light only travels

in straight lines. Burst these reports.

Forgiveness exists in the face of what isn't fair.

Now if you please, use your eyelashes to run

a dotted line through the sky. Compromise

quietly and practice (radio silence) when anyone asks

about your involvement. The crickets were cheap.

They were silent. Okay light, wave that dark way.

Leaf cracking, I can't walk home without startling

a rabbit and I slam the door so quietly shut.


Get up. Get up and pretend your head isn't full

of tiny broken sticks. It will be worth it to walk

through the door such a complicated mess,

crazy to such purpose. One way to torture a person

who is sleep deprived is to pretend the house is on

fire. Look very serious and say Fire! Fire! Fire!

Look very serious and say Water! Water! Water!

Look very serious and say You built a better body

of water. Yes you did. Where did you find such a

stunning embankment? Pretend you put out the fire

with the better body of water. Pretend you are

a medium to large marine mammal. I will be

a fly on the wall dressed as a person, a person who

has complicated ideas about what constitutes a wall.

No doubt I'm a little faded, dejected, incognito,

noncommittal. I only do practical things.


I can't imagine what you must think of me.

Or perhaps I can. Perhaps as a pomegranate.

Or as a sparrow, but a kind that cannot fly.

A fog that is made up. A crest or ridge.

For example, the border of a bone.

To be still to come. A boot and a scorpion,

they meet in the shower. An outline

of the number eight, formed with two loops

and one continuous line. Yesterday's noon

we all forgot. Collapsing into surf

when close to shore or hitting rocks.

I'm awake, I think. Maybe as a bookend.

I've thought about you in many ways

neither grammatical or while wearing gloves.


The sketch of the woodpile was never found.
This made us uneasy and we began to weep.
Within a week we were wanting like lost geese.

This is harder than silk. This is harder than the bottom.
If only we knew how to embroider.
Maybe that would help, help like details.

We like small things. We are good with small things.
We stack them and sign them and tuck them in at night.
When they run away it breaks our hearts.

It's true, we have hearts, like pine needles, we have thousands.
They are very busy, the winds treat them not so well.
This is an impasse. This is probably where we are.

Did anyone have the foresight to protect against this trouble?
This wasn't included in the scope. To tame it someone will have to sew
Shut its eyelids. Wooden eyelids. Iron eyelids.

A canyon with steep walls can only be entered readily
From the upstream direction. This is the opposite of what is usual
Or what was previously said.

Pretend there aren't hundreds of different light bulbs you can buy.
There are no light bulbs. Thinking about aircraft instruments
And anything that blocks the passage of light

Sight or air, is like building a bridge. The gods are showing harm.
The gods are hammering and kissing. When they do this
It looks like a horse. The extra large architecture

Might be a problem. More innovation from the stone.
This feeling is both constant and intermittent.
Sleep is a symptom. To get deeper into it

We will need to examine the external factors
The conditions that surround people. A sudden strong wind is real enough.
Enough to knock us down. That's enough.

A hoarse raspy kraaa, a harsh crr-eek, clear whistles and bursts
Of warbled notes, a fast series of tseee sounds descending in pitch
The song ends as a trill. We don't know what this means

But that does not detract from our pleasure or displeasure.
The condition of the noise spread the news like a context.
Anything from which something may be learned

We love like night falling over and over again.
Damn these recurring flow patterns. We curse
These models of resource. We love them, like exaltation.

This is joy. What is able to be heard by the human ear
Is responsible for so much. Little carries this much
Alone. Without looking describe these scientific experiments.

Describe a plant in which growth stops
Because its growing point is damaged.
Like when hail hits, we can do this.

We recommend the pursuit of special knowledge
As the central goal of life, though it is typically
Depicted under the governance of forces of which we are not aware.

Hopefully we can balance on what we do know.
There is no critical path. Water is important.
The head always had something to do with the skull.


If it feels like a brick just hit your head
whatever it is, it's got to hurt.

The leaves on my roof are like some sort of creep.
To be wanted momentarily by a wandering eye

is no great flattery. It's flat flummery.
Settle down. Your empty space sorrow

can't stop boxing with the local squirrels.
Who hasn't been snuffed? Even the hermit has.

The water is nice. Are you cold?
Back at my house it is cold and I am aware

that shadows help artists represent objects
more realistically. Nature is so involved

in this sort of deception.
You look my way like the rain

daring me to hold it. I should like to think
lucky stamps go places.

How many states were there?
It appears some are out of service.

I watched you from a distance.
The distance was a meter.

Dust is the reality but I'm always saying sand.
There are many ways to apologize, though

the nose nearly touching the hands in a low bow
will not solve reports that there are problems

with the new technology. Feeling like a log I lay
by the bank of a river. Together this thing awakes

to hold us.

© Emily Pettit 2009