Five Points, Vol. 21, no. 1
Anya Krugovoy Silver
Reading Poetry in Illness
Certain names are sacred to me.
I no longer waste time on books
that don’t wrestle with angels,
leaving my fingers bruised
as I turn the pages of slim volumes.
The great ones—only regular humans,
with the same problems as thousands
before or since. But God took them
and held them before a dry wind,
and their helpless bodies swallowed
all the swirling sand, rocks, and blood,
and from this, poems forced their way.
I won’t mention their names,
lest their spirits recoil at praise.
But the lashes on my skin that their words
have left—see how they flash golden,
like the spot where the enchanted bear’s pelt
has been ripped away by a briar.