[When the bed is empty ... ]

By Dawn Lundy Martin
When the bed is empty, we pull the shades to block light,
light of resemblance to remembery, long light of waiting,
an impatience in the glows of it. The here of the now and the glow
that days make in the room, without the body but with the stench
of it. So we say, vacancy and abject,against the was, against
a philosophy of once and then not. Not-being against.
A child once grew here. As lines on a wall. As
growing without knowing what would one day not be. A
gnawing grows. Grew and was. Protection is curled. Motion-
less. I envy her in her room. Hers with paint and dolls and hand-
prints. Great green and glowing under blankets with a hand
that nurtures the heart of the mouth, purrs into mouth, loves
the heart. Heart beating within another—blushing blood—
God, the beating, lit, and doing what it does.

Dawn Lundy Martin, “[When the bed is empty . . .]” from Discipline. Copyright © 2011 by Dawn Lundy Martin. Reprinted by permission of Nightboat Books.

Source: Discipline (Nightboat Books, 2011)

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Poet Dawn Lundy Martin

Subjects Living, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Youth

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Dawn Lundy Martin


Poet and activist Dawn Lundy Martin earned a BA at the University of Connecticut, an MA at San Francisco State University, and a PhD at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Her poetry collections include Discipline (2011), chosen by Fanny Howe for the Nightboat Books Prize, and A Gathering of Matter/A Matter of Gathering (2007), which was selected for the Cave Canem Poetry Prize by Carl Phillips and was a finalist for the . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Youth

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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