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Site design: Skeleton

Sample Poems by Kim Bridgford



The Artist

For Jamie Hulley (1981-2002)

You wanted to create, to be like God,
To shape a vision out of swirling cloud,
To raise the Adams up, and lovely Eves,
To write the sunlight falling on the leaves,
The place where possibility can stir,
The tremulous unfolding of the air:
The narratives that come from paradise.

And when you died, we saw through your own eyes:
The paradox of the unreached-for fruit,
The vision of what was and what was not
Unraveling, like knowledge from the trees.
In loss is also metamorphosis.  
We saw in a reversal from our grief
The Eden you had left us leaf by leaf.



What If

What if, we say, we’d left the moment there—
The way we might a sweater on a chair—
And with one extra morning cup, the car
That sent our lives careening was not far
But somewhere up the road? What if the choice
Could just be redirected by a voice,
A bird’s insistent warning that could change
The one event that we would rearrange?

We play our what-ifs over every day
As if in doing so we’d find a way
To make our moments easier to live.
Why don’t we think of the alternative?
Convinced that we could, somehow, lift our curse,
We never think we could have make it worse.



Remembrance

The past is nothing but lost remembrance
We sift through hands that want to set things right.
We want to give our lives significance;

And perhaps we can—the blazing utterance
We see now with the gift of second sight.
Yet the past is nothing but lost remembrance,

Not facts. Don’t count on a continuance
Of scenes: unholy hands, words replayed at night.
We want to give our lives significance;

We want to make sense of the circumstance.
But the memories shift, and we can’t get them quite.
The past is nothing but lost remembrance.

These lips and hands are our inheritance;
They are the only gift we hold outright.
We want to give our lives significance.

The present is the saving brilliance
In small bits of extinguishable light.
The past is nothing but lost remembrance;
We want to give our lives significance.



It’s Something Near

There it is again. It’s something near—
An insect, or a fork scraping on bone.
I feel it like the underside of fear,

Small, but brimming with particular
Detail:  like glyphs translating out of stone.
There it is again. It’s something near.

Madness starts with this—a singular
Moment that recurs in isolation.
I feel it like the underside of fear.

Hidden. Rasping. Terrible. And there.
Sometimes I’m left with just this one sensation.
There it is again. It’s something near

And intimate:  a finger on a star,
The breathless escalation of a passion.
I feel it like the underside of fear,

The pulse of life and death, a cockleburr
That does not let go. In my skeleton
There it is again. It’s something near;
I feel it like the underside of fear.