Who kills my history

By Joan Houlihan Joan Houlihan
Who kills my history knows   
it is buried   
in the same air ay breathe.   
Only a hair is needed to keep you, mother.   
Only a fit of bone.   
Comfort, comfort, ay am my own.   

Wanting simple, a sun like water, a flow and stir of air.   
Warm stone, black-warm, dirt scent and bird.   
Ay am put out to weather.   

Animal eyed me here—heaving, breathing over—   
felt by smell for me and loomed.   
Air shifted my hair as it neared and sniffed   
then left. Comfort, comfort me.   

A thresh of sticks and vine, hand-carried   
high—ay am my own weight carried by,   
kind horse, kind mother, gone.

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).

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

December 2008
 Joan   Houlihan

Biography

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 Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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