Writing Totems

….you have to becomewriting totems the person you need to become

to write that book.

                             Junot Diaz

 

Listless in the cool light

of afternoon, a lizard scans

the crevices along our wall

waiting for me to fetch

part of myself that’s a blend

of fence and skink

 

clinging to language’s strata

and burrowing under each crack

to find the hatched syllables

of a word. Then another and another

until a sentence leaps into place.

 

And on a drainpipe, a raven bangs

for recognition. Shaken leaflets

fall off the mimosa clustering

along her slick plumage. The Pleiades

sunlit in green. It’s time for shedding

( as Winter’s sister crispens the air)

 

and the bird baits me

to invoke part of myself

that arrives with risk, daring

to roost in the macabre rafters

of imagination.

 

Its beams splintered

and veiled with the intricacy

of spiders, the breath of characters

I have yet to raise from the dead.

____________________________________

“Fence” and “skink” are two kinds of lizards;; one clings to stone walls./fences. the other burrows under garden foliage for protection and to look for food.

5 comments

  1. gwendrina posted: “….you have to become the person you need to become to write that book.
    Junot Diaz
    Listless in the cool light of afternoon,
    a lizard scans the crevices along our wall
    waiting for me to fetch
    part of myself that’s a blend
    of fence and skink”

    Like

  2. ” The Pleiades

    sunlit in green. It’s time for shedding”

    Wendy,

    All encompassing and such a mood setter. I love it!

    You create tone so adeptly.

    ” a blend

    of fence and skink”

    and my fav:

    “and the bird baits me

    to invoke part of myself

    that arrives with risk”

    The above lines create a frisson of excitement,
    a challenge.

    The last stanza is the perfect wrap for this package.

    So very much enjoyed!

    Sarah

    Like

  3. Dear Maryse and Francina

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting on this poem!! I deeply appreciate your interest in my work
    and your thoughtfulness. Since I live in the high desert of Southern California, I have a raven and lizard close by. They really do serve as totems to my writing, at times and help put things in a certain perspective that is imaginative and persistent.

    Again thankyou both so much!
    Take care,
    Wendy

    Like

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