Poem | Adjustment


(Dedicated to John Rawls)


Mighty planet Earth
orbits to order, its greenest blues
attractive, to make our
life-giving aerial envelope
lawful, obedient, singing.
It turns among bodies
of stars and astral junk.

Earth bears with us undismissing.
Enveloped, we hear it thrum.
                   We’re all over it.

We think of Earth as ours. We
were raised here. Its blood-stream
slung in our knotty salted nets,
it seconds the continuous bass
of the pulse of the sphere.


On foot I am in
the fight of my life
facing my enemy.
I duck and fall side-
wise to the commons.

I come up at last.
At last.


A space, a narrow strip an edge:
Tiny, it’s enough.
Quieter, I inch away from the war.

Behind my enemy and behind me, our
landscape, erupted, lies wide, hurt.
Now what. Here I stand (life, here saved).
He too doesn’t fall. (It’s disarming.)

We’re at the edge, his and mine.
Our country is broken.
Broken, it smokes in the sun.

Oh. We’ve reached the common verge. We
overlap on it. We catch our breath and
stop bristling.                      We speak.

I can see him better from here.
We overlap. We word our overlap
forward from our verge.

Air holds us, fond.

Both of us are speaking and
audible on our equal overlap,

both of us Earthlings
under the hugely overlapping sun.

Published in the February 12, 2016 issue: 

Marie Ponsot recently received the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry, given annually by Sewanee Review. In 2013, she was awarded the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement by the Poetry Foundation. Her Collected Poems was published in August by Knopf.

Also by this author
Poem | Air Waves

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