A crush of oily plant and treated white

By Joan Houlihan Joan Houlihan
A crush of oily plant and treated white, wrapt and reached by root, sky-touched and still, a bud in leaf: make of me a body. Oil me, hand and foot, bind me tight and scented green: this is my dressing, done. Ay lived and spoke to what ay was. No matter if you answer. On hand and foot an oil and scent. Across my forehead fingers sweep a clay. Remember what ay was and am. Kind horse, lie down beside.

FOOTNOTES: The Us is a formally fractured poetic sequence spoken by a chronically nomadic people. A member of the group (Ay) dramatizes the coming to self-consciousness of an individual in the group.—JH

Source: Poetry (December 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2008
 Joan   Houlihan


Joan Houlihan is the author of four collections of poems. Her first book, Hand-Held Executions (2003, re-released in 2009 in an expanded version to include her essays from Boston Comment), was followed by The Mending Worm (2006), winner of the Green Rose Award from New Issues Press.
Houlihan describes the space poets occupy as the revitalization of language and experience. Her own body of work manages at once to be deeply . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, The Body, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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