Letter For Emily Dickinson

written by

« Reload image

When I cut words you never may have saidinto fresh patterns, pierced in place with pins,ready to hold them down with my own thread,they change and twist sometimes, their color spinsloose, and your spider generositylends them from language that will never befree of you after all. My sampler reads,"called back." It says, "she scribbled out these screeds."It calls, "she left this trace, and now we start" --in stitched directions that follow the leadsI take from you, as you take me apart.

You wrote some of your lines while baking bread,propping a sheet of paper by the binsof salt and flour, so if your kneading ledto words, you'd tether them as if in thinblack loops on paper. When they sang to be free,you captured those quick birds relentlesslyand kept a slow, sure mercy in your deeds,leaving them room to peck and hunt their seedsin the white cages your vast iron arthad made by moving books, and lives, and creeds.I take from you as you take me apart.

© Annie Finch