Thursday, February 22, 2007

Poetry Thursday: The Unraveling

This week's Poetry Thursday prompt is the body knows. I spent some time drafting a poem for the draft, but nothing worth sharing came out. So, I'm reposting a poem from the fall about skin...which was a direction my poems were heading in during my drafts.

The Unraveling

Bria is peeling off her skin
in strips, like an orange
from the tip of her index finger
across the canyon of her palm
scattering the refuse across her desk
like a thin curl of pencil shavings

That the skin can come off
with just a thumbnail is a puzzle
it is all that connects the insides
these muscles, bones, veins--
the very center the very heart
could tumble onto the floor
if this gauze disappears

One more layer and there will be
a prick of blood waiting, she convinces herself
this will be her smoky red earth
her something strong her something
good this will be her root
she digs like a child looking for China

there's not one scarlet drop

All this fragility
this is all we have



Blogger Poet with a Day Job said...

What an excellent poem. I really love this central idea: of tearing away at the skin, of how easy it is yet, it holds all our complex parts together. Also interesting is the fact the we, the one the skin is holding together, can be the one to tear it down.

I love the line "she digs like a child looking for China." The sounds are amazing, the idea is - very nice poem!

10:19 AM  
Blogger jayne said...

Mm, what delicious words. I read this aloud the 2nd time through. It makes my skin tingle.

I like the image of peeling off the skin, like an orange. Uncovering the layers.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

A compelling poem. This fragility is all we have, you're so right.

10:58 AM  
Blogger strauss said...

I love your words...once again.
This was an excellent poem, truely excellent.
The peeling away of skin and the anticipation of a drop of blood I could feel that.

11:52 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Very thought provoking. Excellent post.

In-between state of consciousness

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

I like the concept of peeling, and never reaching the core.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous slynne said...

I love this poem. The action of it is so familiar, but you talk about it in such a fresh way. I can feel pulling the thin skin layers off. I can feel watching her do it. I heart the last lines: this fragility is all we have. Great piece!

3:20 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

Marvelous imagery in this poem. I particularly love these lines...

the very center the very heart
could tumble onto the floor
if this gauze disappears


3:31 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Wow, this was full of really great images and truth. Great choice!

4:33 PM  
Blogger Dennis said...

This made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my teeth gnash together at the thought of digging into your flesh. I love how crisply this is written. Very tight. Great poem.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

Wow- so deep here, Emily. I am envisioning Bria as she peels away at her skin- only to find her fragility...

6:05 PM  
Blogger Deezee said...

the fragility...


7:17 PM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

The second-time reading, for me, was all the better! A powerful poem indeed. You should send it off somewhere. Get it published in a magazine.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Rethabile said...

Reads perfect. Bravo. Swell finish. Listen to chiefbiscuit.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous my backyard said...

This poem made my skin crawl (in a good way). You kept up the tension throughout.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Hel said...

I like the feeling of introspection. The way the thoughts seems focused towards the inside, the wanting to see blood while peeling to try and get closer to the heart. Beautiful.

9:41 AM  
Blogger twilightspider said...

All I can say is that I heartily agree with everyone above. This is fantastic.

1:08 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

A powerhouse first stanza!aall flows so well from there. great job!

10:11 PM  
Blogger G said...

Nice work. I read this as an extended metaphor, of shedding layers of protection and becoming more vulnerable yet somehow stronger (the core being fragile and strong at the same time).

I winced at the "prick of blood" line. Great poem.

10:19 PM  
Blogger twitches said...

I remember this - thanks for posting it again. I like poems that make you feel slightly uncomfortable yet must be acknowledged as beautiful. Nicely done.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Hel said...

I would like to tag you for a meme award as someone who makes me think and leave a link on my site to yours. Would this be ok with you?

3:52 AM  
Anonymous jen said...


i should like to sit and have a coffee with Bria.

and you.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Hel: Yes that is fine :)

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Dana said...

I agree with Twitches when she says she likes "poems that make you feel slightly uncomfortable yet must be acknowledged as beautiful."

That is exactly what this poem is. Bria comes to life in this poem, both as an individual and as a need that exists in all of us, if that makes any sense. That's why it's an uncomfortable read for me ~ because I know in my own way, I am always looking for verification of my own fragility.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Michelle Fry said...

Normally I would point to my favorite stanza or verse but I think everything in this poem is perfection. I literally moaned over it. You should submit this for publication.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Ó Seasnáin said...

Every poet must have one great poem about being a poet, congrats! The only question I have is the use of the word "thin" in "thin peel." If I'm not mistaken, and this is about being a poet, are you suggesting the speaker is highly emotional? Or is this the onion idea?

10:03 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

That was insanely gorgeous.

10:19 PM  

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