Lisa C.Taylor


"I had the idea that the world's so full of pain
it must sometimes make a kind of singing."                                                                        
-Robert Hass


For weeks I've been uncovering details
that don't fit into this time,

elegies to Leatherback turtles
and Bengal tigers,
a demise
that seems inevitable.

I wanted to write about grace,
so I went to hear a Renaissance choir
sing of redemption
and it reminded me of you and hope.

Yes, but the world.

The moment I floated instead
of sinking and my foot found a crag.
I looked out
at a royal span dotted
with geese and brushstroke clouds,
heard the counterpoint of honk and wind.

Yes, but the world.

Sometimes I awaken and cannot breathe,
the child next door
eaten away by cancer, our country
freefalling past high rises,
with people below
then just crisscrossed lines.

Everything seems broken
and the first snow struggles to cover
grit and crushed leaves.

Thousands of miles away,
my daughter's dog leaps and romps
on a mountain path,
tongue loose, nose sniffing air,
and someone at the concert told me
about catching trout in Cave Creek.
He spread his hands
to show the enormity of the catch.

We pull on boots
and coats against the buffet
of cold, and I'm six again, dragging the frayed rope
of my Flexible Flyer across the street, hush
and scrape of runners.

Yes, but the world.

Firsts inhabit me; our vows,
two births, words that flutter and open,
though I won't look away from death
or shun dissension.

Élan, that quality animals exude
manifests unbidden,
it's in the ice that miniaturizes leaves,
a final note

I try to sing

and hold.



Lisa C. Taylor is the author of four collections of poetry and one collection of short fiction. Another collection of short stories is due out this summer. Her honors include Pushcart nominations in fiction and poetry, the Hugo House New Fiction Award, and the Elizabeth Shanley Gerson Lecture of Irish Literature, along with Irish writer Geraldine Mills. Lisa was a visiting writer at Norwalk Community College in 2017.