Justice, Come Down

By Minnie Bruce Pratt b. 1946 Minnie Bruce Pratt
A huge sound waits, bound in the ice,
in the icicle roots, in the buds of snow
on fir branches, in the falling silence
of snow, glittering in the sun, brilliant
as a swarm of gnats, nothing but hovering
wings at midday. With the sun comes noise.
Tongues of ice break free, fall, shatter,
splinter, speak. If I could write the words.

Simple, like turning a page, to say Write
what happened, but this means a return
to the cold place where I am being punished.
Alone to the stony circle where I am frozen,
the empty space, children, mother, father gone,
lover gone away. There grief still sits
and waits, grim, numb, keeping company with
anger. I can smell my anger like sulfur-
struck matches. I wanted what had happened
to be a wall to burn, a window to smash.
At my fist the pieces would sparkle and fall.
All would be changed. I would not be alone.

Instead I have told my story over and over
at parties, on the edge of meetings, my life
clenched in my fist, my eyes brittle as glass.

Ashamed, people turned their faces away
from the woman ranting, asking: Justice,
stretch out your hand. Come down, glittering,
from where you have hidden yourself away.

Minnie Bruce Pratt, “Justice, Come Down” from The Dirt She Ate: New and Selected Poems (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Copyright © 2003 by Minnie Bruce Pratt. Used with the permission of the author.

Source: The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003)

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Poet Minnie Bruce Pratt b. 1946

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Nature, Winter, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Minnie Bruce  Pratt

Biography

Minnie Bruce Pratt is recognized as an eminent poet in the United States. In addition to receiving acclaim for her verse, Pratt is acknowledged as an essayist, activist, lesbian-feminist, and educator. By chronicling her existence in poetry and prose, Pratt has explored themes reflecting the particularities of her life. She has surveyed her Southern, middle-class upbringing, her ten-year marriage and strained divorce, her battle . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Winter, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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