Monday, April 23, 2007

Sue Nacey

Brighton Beach: After Learning, at 31, That Grandfather Was a Schizophrenic

Every flag is a wave.
Every wave rises blue to the blue sky.
Before breaking every blue wave is blue.
Inside every wave is another wave breaking.

From this perspective—
from down here on the ground—
the pigeons are the same height as the girls with green strings
wrapped around their necks.

Father, these are your daughters.
These are your daughters with green necks.
These are your daughters with their heads tied to their bodies.
Your daughters with no throats inside their green strings.

Suddenly, you make sense.
From one side, these pink houses with their gray dribbly faces.
This is our finishing school.
From the other side, only flags.
Frenzied flags
hungry flags
blue flags losing their blue
as they rise and descend over themselves overhead.

What difference does breaking make.
What difference to the sand in being covered—
by ocean or towel or bodies or closed in a small girl's fist—

but what of that gray gull—
that red-eyed gull
that is neither pink nor blue nor green—
that call falling from its clam-splitting beak
as it stretches its neck
and looks around.

From something left in the open it takes a bite.

What the Snow Says (2)

    Sometimes your voice falls into me like a protein
                      growing bigger than it ought to be

                              like a second more virulent sun—
this stretchy strand of you that twists and sticks to sleep
to waking and follows to
                            the far side of the city
                                            between us.

               Light passes through it.               People pass
   through it.
            Somewhere someone's chromosomes grow.

    Someone somewhere hears the grass as it grows
                                              beetles as they chew living
                into a new kind of protein

                          while the elms, still wildly waving
                                   call us closer
                      like a sea,
                                         like a party at the sea's
                           preparing to collapse.

Sue Nacey coordinates the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Hunter College in addition to teaching in the undergraduate English Department. The recipient of a Norma Friedman Fellowship, she has worked as a research assistant to Edward Hirsch. Her poetry has previously appeared in Conduit and Perspectives: A Journal of Critical & Creative Writing.