Who Would I Show It To? by Sally Ball

                       [Merwin]

I so much trusted your capacity for delight.

Some suicide I’ve been able to see as an end of deep suffering.
Your suffering was not to me invisible but outweighed by your
curiosities, your sweet absorptions. Birds, nephews. Dancer
pose.

I’ve tried, but I can’t see your death as an extension of seeking.

Come back. I felt this also after my father died. Come Back.  Plea
at the base of the diaphragm. Low-down. Come back. It frightens
me, everything caving toward death’s sealed halo. A halo in the
gut—

Our last conversation was about my father’s body in the hours
after he died. Because I got to sit with him. And you described a
moth you’d watched fold itself up for death. Am I an idiot? I
found you cheerful, as ever your associative pluck and empathy
and generosity alive between us.

Man of sorrows. Your white hands, your frail shins. Red hair but
softly red, a shell-color.

One night I was cooking alone in the yard, small fire, small
steaks. A nighthawk swept into the light between the trees, two
sweeps, two lines it cut, and just as my mind flickered toward
recognition, sending up your name, —it disappeared into the
dark. If that was you, then why did my father send no sign?

To learn more about Sally Ball visit her website by clicking here, or go to her page on the
website of the Academy of American Poets by clicking here.

This poem comes from Sally Ball’s book Hold Sway.

Click here to purchase.

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To read the essay Danielle referenced, “The Final Prophecy of W. S. Merwin” by Dan Chiasson, click here.

Below is an example of the Dancer pose done much more gracefully than Danielle exhibited for me during the show.