Taking the Bull by the Horns in 2016

Use Caution when Taking the Bull by the Horns

Wear leather gloves, thick skin, a scrim of gorgeous

Call for the bandilleros and the picadors.
Call for the doctor, call for the nurse,
call for the lady with the alligator purse.

You know, I knew that lady. She used to visit my mother.
The furs at her neck bit each other’s tails.

It was dangerous back in 1949:
the Italians were still starving and warehouses by the Thames
were soot black. My little sister almost died
because her throat was too small.

All my life I have listened for breathing.
When I am lucky, I can feel the earth inhale,
grasses rising like the messy coat
of a very old dog.

Who will listen for breaths when I am gone?
Who listened before I was born?

I must take the bull by the horns and leap onto
his humped back. We will chase that cow
over fresh moons.


Mother, I am hiding under the washtub.
Daddy, I am hiding under the lilacs.
I am holding my breath. Anyone here,
come find me.

I have been hiding for fifty years.

--Penelope Scambly Schott

This is what my new year is saying to me: chase a cow over fresh moons, listen for breathing.

I'm indebted to the amazing poet Penelope Scambly Schott for permission to use this poem. Here's a recent profile of Penelope in Combustus.

Penelope Scambly Schott, featured poet at a Voicecatcher event.
Christi catching Penelope's glow.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment! I love feedback.