from Quarantine

By Malachi Black Malachi Black


Somehow I am sturdier, more shore
than sea-spray as I thicken through
the bedroom door. I gleam of sickness.
You give me morning, Lord, as you
give earthquake to all architecture.
I can forget.
                           You put that sugar
in the melon’s breath, and it is wet
with what you are. (I, too, ferment.)
You rub the hum and simple warmth
of summer from afar into the hips
of insects and of everything.
I can forget.
                           And like the sea,
one more machine without a memory,
I don’t believe that you made me.


I don’t believe that you made me
into this tremolo of hands,
this fever, this flat-footed dance
of tendons and the drapery

of skin along a skeleton.
I am that I am: a brittle
rib cage and the hummingbird
of breath that flickers in it.

Incrementally, I stand:
in me are eons and the cramp
of endless ancestry.

Sun is in the leaves again.
I think I see you in the wind
but then I think I see the wind.

Source: Poetry (May 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2011
 Malachi  Black


Malachi Black is the author of Storm Toward Morning (Copper Canyon Press, 2014) and two limited edition chapbooks: Quarantine (2012) and Echolocation (2010). A recipient of a 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship, Black has also received recent fellowships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the MacDowell Colony, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the University of Texas at Austin’s . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Religion, Faith & Doubt, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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