One is One

Heart, you bully, you punk, I’m wrecked, I’m shocked
stiff. You? you still try to rule the world–though
I’ve got you: identified, starving, locked
in a cage you will not leave alive, no
matter how you hate it, pound its walls,
& thrill its corridors with messages.

Brute. Spy. I trusted you. Now you reel & brawl
in your cell but I’m deaf to your rages,
your greed to go solo, your eloquent
threats of worse things you (knowing me) could do.
You scare me, bragging you’re a double agent

since jailers are prisoners’ prisoners too.
Think! Reform! Make us one. Join the rest of us,
and joy may come, and make its test of us.

–Marie Ponsot

Who hasn’t struggled with the bully heart? I particularly respond to this line:

Think! Reform! Make us one. Join the rest of us,
and joy may come, and make its test of us.

Ponsot, who also translates books from the French, has taught in graduate programs at Queens College, Beijing United University, the Poetry Center of the YMHA, and New York University. Among her awards are a creative writing grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize, and the Shaughnessy Medal of the Modern Language Association. Marie Ponsot teaches in the graduate writing program at Columbia University in New York City.

When asked why poetry matters, Ponsot replied: “There’s a primitive need for language that works as an instrument of discovery and relief, that can make rich the cold places of our inner worlds with the memorable tunes and dreams poems hold for us.”

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