Right there, feet from the bed she died in,
sewn up in tiny fascicle bundles, unread,
not to be read, not to be published,
monoprint chapbooks arranged and re-
arranged to suit intended readers
she was too reticent to speak to,
ever, except from behind a door, ajar.
How they came from her writing table there
(no bigger than a oiuja board),
from planchette pen to folded leaf
stitched shut and mummy-wrapped,
living and smothering just feet from where
a gasp and pen-dab and a foot-tap
telegraphed them into being
How many enwrapped, entombed inside
that oblong moth-proof drawer?
how many survivors of admonition a poet should never ... a lady does not ...
eighteen hundred tightly-wound mortars
she wryly called her “little hymns.”
Emily Dickinson at Amherst,
I in your room as close to fainting
as ever in my adult existence,
at tear-burst, with a strangled cry I dare
not utter. A life, a life’s work,
a soul's compression that one executor
could have tossed away for kindling
or suppressed for jealousy or malice.
But we have you, Emily, we have you always,
your words in a fascicle of stitched stars.