POETRY

Breathe on the Page

By

To explain my life in writing—

oh, I can only describe night-gowns on a clothesline
twisting in twilight against black trees

dividing the curtains
of blossom, pylons, highways, space between

domestic and distant. I mean, the locus of meaning: It's neither
smoke from a briar pipe, nor baby's cry, not endless increase

nor the death of desire. I want you
all the time
, I said this morning, before seeing you off in the elevator,

locking the door. As you disappeared, I felt something
like the scary pressure at the end of labor

in the base of my throat: an overwhelming urge to push
at the walls till they give. I sometimes tangle a nerve

in a knot of letters attempting to express this. Breathe I hear, and breath
is life
, but life erases writing, leaves the paper

only whiter.

Miranda Field is the author of Swallow (Houghton-Mifflin, 2002). Her work appears in numerous journals and several anthologies, including Legitimate Dangers&58; American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande Books), Not for Mothers Only (Fence Books), and Efforts and Affections&58; Women Poets on Mentorship (Iowa). She has received a Katherine Bakeless Nason Literary Publication Award, a Discovery/The Nation Award, and a Pushcart Prize. Her story, "Energy Regime," recently won Washington Square journal's Flash Fiction competition. Born and raised in the UK, she lives in Manhattan, and teaches in the writing program New York University. Visit her non-blog, Hen's Egg, at hens-egg.blogspot.com/.

To explain my life in writing—

oh, I can only describe night-gowns on a clothesline
twisting in twilight against black trees

dividing the curtains
of blossom, pylons, highways, space between