Word Poetry

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Sample Poems by Grey Held



Some Angels

Some angels hammer for themselves
haloes with radiance and diameter
appropriate to
the thought being thought-

Is that a baby falling in the back yard?

They barter. They refuse
ever to be hamstrung
by taboos.

They roughen everything to threadbare
like at a crime scene
in a parking lot.

Some hold on to grief,
as oaks hold on to leaves until spring,
when they weep.


23 Nights In The Neonatal Icu

He breathed meekly,
one chamber of his heart
agape.

No claim dared I stake
to whatever dream
seemed to be arriving
through the ward's retractable dividers.

Hush, Little Baby, I sang.

Every night I knelt
beside the incubator's vault-
his two bloated feet
tinkering at the gate,

red rings flickering around his eyes,
two hands too small to grasp
what love may come.




I Toss The Baby Into Air

Of course he falls
headlong, straight down into the bed
of pansies and petunias.

I pick him up.

I put in his mouth the silver
teething ring from my pocket,
wipe with my shirttail
specks of pine bark from his tears.

Don't drop him, his mother had said.

I meant to give him
the glee of freefall
and being free
from all the trademarks of touch-

then I dropped him.


Kite Boy

If I told you that he was born
between the shrieks
of a million doorbells ringing,
would you believe me?

Or that he was carried
in the beak of an osprey
who dropped him and so
he had to find his own way
to survive.

And that the swaddled clouds
pawned their say- so
and suckled with him
at the nipple of the sun.

If I told you rain
tied kite string
around his waist and the other
end to wind,

would he lean back into it,
let it catch him?




Contrition

If I tied a burning candle
onto the buckle of my shoe
and a second burning candle
onto the buckle of my other shoe,
and I walked the sidewalk, could I
keep the flames from going out,
keep from colliding with anyone,
keep from being buffeted
by upgusts from the subway grate,
keep from tripping
on the cobbles of the plaza that flanks
St. John's Cathedral, its gutters
studded with a hundred pigeons.
And as the wax dripped,
would those pigeons bluster down
into ruckus and strut,
would they peck at my feet
as if those flames were crumbs, as if-
O God, those tiny fires
could save us.