And Then Who Shows Up
(Hymn to Aphrodite)
How did I not know you but you fool me
every time. The alias, the fake passport, the clever
excuse for why you talk like me. Then you fell
like something fancy and on fire in my lap
and there’s no going home for me. For you,
there’s the long track of shine in which no one,
you included, can ever say your name.
(Hymn to Athena)
Did you feel it, that minute when everything waited:
when the sea screamed and then stopped screaming,
when the ground started yacking and then shut up,
when even the sun let out the clutch and forgot
to re-engage it? Did you feel the lurch
of your brand-new heart swinging open
and staying that way? Did you know that was the armor
called God sliding like sea water off your back?
Jean Gallagher’s first book of poems, This Minute, received the Poets Out Loud Prize and will be published in Fall 2005 by Fordham University Press. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Commonweal, The Journal, Margie, Rhino, and 7 Carmine. She is an associate professor of English at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, NY.