Leslie Harrison

To Say
February 15, 2012 Harrison Leslie

[To say]


There are dead children all over and under this earth

to say your heart is broken is to translocate sorrow

to honor the stutter you carry always in its own cage

beast of the gaps unrested hesitations to say your heart

is broken is to say the river never wanted those particular

dead and is to also say the field full of mice going in fear

of all that has wings is also full of stubble the grain taken

dead and leavened by hands by time to say your heart

is broken is to see inside your mind all that is gone all

that has become the shadow of wings all that will never

again appear to say your heart is broken is to wish to end

the uneven engine mend it into silence or steady purr

is to say something about the impossibility of repair is to say

your heart your memories the field the river the bodies

are all intact and can never be saved no matter what


Leslie Harrison’s second book, The Book of Endings (Akron, 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her first book, Displacement (Mariner, 2009), won the Bakeless Prize in poetry. She lives and works in Baltimore.