Strange Sundays: Poetry That Surprises

Strange Sundays Poetry: Death Comes to Me Again, a Girl

Death Comes to Me Again, A Girl

Death comes to me again, a girl in a cotton slip.
Barefoot, giggling. It’s not so terrible she tells me,
not like you think, all darkness and silence.

There are wind chimes and the smell of lemons.
Some days it rains. But more often the air
is dry and sweet. I sit beneath the staircase
built from hair and bone and listen
to the voices of the living.

I like it, she says, shaking the dust from her hair,
especially when they fight, and when they sing.

by Dorianne Laux

Copyright © 2000 Dorianne Laux . This poem originally appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review and was later published in her book Smoke by Boa Editions, Ltd. in 2000.

This poet is not known for surrealist, magical realism, or fantastical poetry, but this imaginative poem by her is one of my favorites. I love how unexpected it is, how beautiful, sweet, and sensory.  It’s perfect in it’s subtleness and simplicity, it’s not at all overwritten (a lot of younger/newer poets tend to overwrite, but Laux is an expert) and it stays with you, long after you read it. It’s literally haunting.

How did this poem make you feel? Any questions or comments?

*Please note: I’ve seen this poem a few times on the internet, via various blogs, etc. But they always format it wrong, even several of the lines breaks are incorrect. I copied it exactly as it is in the book, Smoke. Please try to respect the poet’s decisions on stanzas, enjambments, etc. by making sure they are correct. You would not change then words, would you? I hope not. So, please respect the artist’s decisions with form/flow/musicality, etc. It’s all part of the poem.

**In an effort to share more modern poetry with the world, I am attempting to share one poem every Sunday (usually with a strange/dark/offbeat spin, in honor of the journals I edit), to my blog here. If you are interested in being featured, message me via my Twitter @LeNoirBleu. The poem should already be published, with the copyright reverted back to you, and should be at least one year since the original publication date.


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