I come to you unrehearsed
By: Nicole Zdeb
I come to you in the hour before day begins across roads and ranges that night early left following the imprint of friendly animals vagabonding through stanzas houses of air and particulars centuries/minutes across a lake pre-Eden black, serene, and teeming today an autumn mind hyper-temporal cherishing the living brushing past death, the slow dog, wild, toothy circling human fires I am a baot across centuries and languages distance collapses grand, almost holy darkness friction of wind and against the horizon now nearly given to day brief flickering: the dead are finding home
I am a writer based in Portland, OR. I hold a MFA from Iowa Writers' Workshop and a certificate in translation from CUNY. Recently, I have had poems and short stories published or about to be published in Ibis Head Review, Dragon Poet Review, Adolphus Press, and Rue. "I come to you unrehearsed was written after a night spent on the Oregon beach around a fire and its embers, in communion with ancestors and ghosts. I thought about why I write and who I write for and it became clear in that darkness that I write for my dead. It is how I pay my karmic debts; it is how I honor; and it is how I grieve. I am not absenced by suffering: I carry it. "I am a boat." "I come to you unrehearsed" speaks to the vulnerability that the poem inhabits. It's not a perfect poem and knows it. And that's okay because its job isn't to be a perfect form; it's to be alive "cherishing the living." I wrote this and put it away for a long time because it was unvarnished. The directness of the voice embarrassed me. This self-censoring made me sad so I sent it out into the world as a small gift to my dead, prayers over water. I never thought it would find you."