Sunday, April 10, 2011

Like Kerosene by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Like Kerosene
By Olena Kalytiak Davis

Yes, it’s daily
that we move into each other—but this morning
I was separate even from myself—
my hands were shovels, I had mosquito netting for hair,
and the insect beating against the night
was my heart. My name was hallow
and the sky was made of shale when

I walked into a part of morning
I’ve never seen: the sky still heavy, still
smoldering with the nightmares of others,
the drunkenness and sorrow rising like dew, like fog,
like smoke back into the clouds. Suddenly,
my face was wet with it. I wanted to lie down
with it. To rest against the almost exhausted night.

Uncertain of what to do there
I started dividing the layers, the sediment,
thinking: Usually I sleep through his sadness.

And the morning asking: Why do you keep track
of the middle of the day when you should be
waxing the moon? How can these young fragile branches
be left out in the darkness, and who set that darkness
wandering inside your heart? Who can your love ignite,
like this, like kerosene?

And then the sky lit the morning.
And then I went in to set my own house on fire.
And then I lay down next to you:
a body filling with feathers or with snow
asking: and who are you that my love can light
like this, like kerosene.


Kelly said...

I love the description of the sky...still heavy with the nightmares of others.

quid said...

My word, ML this is the most incendiary, strongest poem I've heard in a long time. A great find! I'm guessing much of her work is this eloquent?


Marion said...

Kelly, she is amazingly eloquent. I love this book, but didn't care for her latest work. Thanks for stopping by. (I've been outside playing with my new herbs. Went to the Kent House Plantation Spring herb sale yesterday and bought 14 new herbs and an awesome Heirloom Rose bush...Poor Ray's been working hard for me today. LOL!) Love & Blessings!

Quid, this book, "And Her Soul Out of Nothing" is her best, bar none, and one of my top 10 favorite poetry books ever (I go back to it again and again). You'd love it and I highly recommend it, though not so much her later work, as I said to Kelly. I'm so glad you enjoyed the poem. Love & Blessings!

Margaret Pangert said...

Hi Marion! Like kerosene... Still crazy after all these years, aren't we... Sigh... xxox

audrey said...

I love this poem. Very strong, very moving, very descriptive. I will have to look for more work by her.
We planted some trees today. Trees make me very happy.
Enjoy your herbs.
♥ audrey

erin said...

an incredibly powerful poem, marion, but i have to admit, this line in itself is enough for me, but this morning
I was separate even from myself
. i felt this distinctly just the other day, as though i had woken into a new land of sorrow and i had no idea how or why. more frighteningly, there was no how or why. i suppose that is what depression feels like. i'm glad it passed. it was like a ghost inhabited me.


Terresa said...

Marion, Olena writes magnificently, doesn't she? I've had her on my radar while now, but she's been lost in the shuffle. Now, today, in reading this, she has risen to the top again. Thanks for bringing her to mind, to light.

Hoping your weekend's been a good one? (For me, recently risen from a nap, never long enough!)

Serena said...

Oh, I LOVE this! Really makes you think.

Julie-ann Bowden said...

So cool to know your roses are blooming! Just perfectly lovely to feel and see summer!
Hope you have many days enjoying your garden and lovely weather!

Wine and Words said...

Mmmmm. Yes Yes Yes. I am confirming Erin's is like depression. From nowhere it comes and dragging on it's heals, a withered hand from a severed arm. I feel like I have indeed lit my house on fire and feathers fall like ashes that we scramble to reclaim from the pillow fight.

Love you!