Hero At The Gates of Hell

for Bette Tomlinson

I'm afraid to ask the right questions.
The ones that elicit instruction and
guidance: how to hold a tree against
weather, my hands against time.
If only I hadn't come to this,
seen how shadows hold a greater light
across the darkness. No one will believe me.
And when I return I will invest everything
with strange new qualities.
The morning sun will brighten my room
in a way that will seem new, and when
I wake to it, leave my bed
and cross the cool floor to hold
the pitcher, feel the good clay
and its weight of clear water,
I will think how the moment
is so beautiful no one
would ever know it's not perfect.

Copyright © Neile Graham, 1994. All rights reserved.
Previously published in Spells for Clear Vision and Contemporary Verse 2.

Sample poems

From Blood Memory

(at The Alsop Review): Story 1 § Sleeping With Lambs § Furious § The Basement Exit § Paper Rock Scissors Stone Water Air § Storyteller Talking At The End of Her Days § You Designed the Map § Ravenous § Tuppence in Pocket § Sheela-na-Gig § A Course in Sadness

(here onsite): The Skin of our Teeth § Woman at the Edge of the World

From Spells for Clear Vision

My Grandmother's Photograph § Washing at Sunset § Midfire § Hero at the Gates of Hell

From Seven Robins

Heart of Stone § November Arrives on the Coast § Seven Robins § Sky is that Moment § St. Maudlin (La Folle)

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