Mennonite Poetry Home | Leonard Neufeldt



In Response to Questions

According to Kassim Ali you are half yourself;
the other part is questions between
you and others. Not only questions that fold
into a single idea about themselves
like your place of birth or whether
God is less glorified by what's imagined
than by what has been or surely will be

but also whether a mountain road
is most real just before it vanishes, whether
the dead break away like a flock of swallows
startled toward eternity, whether answers
far off can entrust themselves to the memory
of miles and their markers to find you

or how to read the first clear day
of your spindly years and Anne's early fullness,
why she asked to sit beside you on the high school
bus, how your moving over was like
the miracle of translation, words missing,
yet the fields and the sky beyond saying yes

and she said yes to your LPs of Vivaldi
and Mozart, their dreamy, joyous continuos
in close embrace, their cries from the depths,
and why you dreamed defiance
until she returned ruined records
from a year of non-stop bad needles,
what was left like the sound of dry spear
grass snapping in the wind, and she said No
to your question of why, after every ride,
she asked to walk the last quarter-mile

home. And if one day your questions
become the person you thought she was,
you will let her breath grow calm and warm
among them, a steady rhythm like her small
facial tics, free of terror or desperation,
and not that moment
twisted at the centre by the steering wheel
and dashboard, how it lost its hold
on the body and both of her shoes,
a question still pleading in her eyes

© Leonard Neufeldt.   Event, Vol. 44 (2015).




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