The Poem and Me
Joy Ladin
The poem walks from me toward meaning
that may or may not be there

By the time it returns
I am someone else

though to the poem
which walks at relativistic speeds

no time at all has passed
That's why the poem looks so puzzled

when it finds I've forgotten
how we are related

The poem and I disappoint one another
Rather than mother and child body and soul

we turned out to be one-night stands
The earth moved my head throbbed

but when the poem returns many years later
it seems like nothing happened

I remember now how the poem began
I was looking out the window

It was winter or summer there was a bird
or a memory of a bird

a screech I suddenly heard as song
a pain that felt like explanation

I lay on the floor of the world
pieces of a toy

the poem began to play with


Joy Ladin is the author of eight books of poetry, including Lambda Literary Award finalists Impersonation and Transmigration, and Fireworks in the Graveyard, forthcoming from Headmistress Press. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. She holds the Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University. 


more by Joy Ladin:
A Modest Proposal