Vous Et Nul Autre
I have hung our dwelling with enormous
nets, crackerjack feeler though you are.
But nets don’t help us in the awful
enormity of the emotion of thinking.
The electrifying interiors keep
turning their faces from the light.
The moon’s passionate disinterest.
The dynamic properties of will
Feeling is clawing out of her hair.
Thinking through the feeling, yet
the body won’t comment on this event,
refuses to draw a moral from itself.
Won’t it at least reveal the
dramatic force of a last stand?
Is it just being fiercely economical:
a brokenheart as dreamy suspension,
as glinting aporia. A lecture on the weather.
A boat as swan as burning nettles:
Instead of sweet thoughtlessness, I could
taste my mind churning.
It was a great relief that my thoughts
had taken over feeling about our sorrows.
I wanted to turn over all my wildness to them,
so that they could harbor it in English-language sounds.
A stunned heart uses up whole days.
You appeared crucial,
not only interesting.
Feelings escaping out from the
willful I, the one that wants always
to place its unthinkable petals on high branches.
Or: you were in a conflagration
Just living what you were feeling,
Let the fans of panic and longing whirr.
Do not desire me when I’m unable to burn.
The coffee all boiled out in the kitchen.
The birds dead at the bottoms of their cages.
When the spring slips the yoke of winter as if
out from under the sway of a particular monarch,
will we feel the second thought of a hovering,
that sensation of lushness, again?
I will lose sight of you. Still, in fluted, blued departure,
the cold spray of fear.
Feelings held together now by malicious ideas
and missing their true meanings.
Before he goes and she helps
herself with plans, prior to the seamed
self saying, let them, let them wreck in me—
They are so sorry for each other’s anger.
Nevertheless, they rummage inside
themselves for their tiny knives of feeling
and all they want now is relief,
not from feeling but from the anticipation
of an answer, for all the formal difference in between.
But feelings keep opening their myriad dark
flowers for you, their thousand petals of thought.
Sandra Lim is the author of The Wilderness (forthcoming in 2014 from W.W. Norton), selected by Louise Glück for the 2013 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Loveliest Grotesque (Kore Press, 2006). She is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.