Weiji

Poem by Prairie Markussen. Photo by Kees Terberg.




I went for the hazards
and left my comfort to the gulls
 
along my childhood shore;
I would not return until I had seen
 
hunger through a winter, or the blood
of labor on my hands, or
 
death that builds character: memories
that torture and twist out a man’s dreams
 
like snakes. There was nothing
for me in my mother’s eyes, nothing
 
in my father’s gentle insistence; nothing
that would keep me, untried, soft
 
in the arms of dull years. I went
for the fear, for the last dying gasp,
 
for the part in me that said stop,
for that part, I went on.
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