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Poem: Ballad of Days


We’re fortunate to have a chance to hear from some remarkable poets, from around the world and around our own area on Lake Effect

Here’s occasional poetry contributor, Jenny Benjamin:

When we huddle closely in our bed,
the night shadows bleed tricks
on the walls, and we, wet flesh,
sighs, and twists that vanish in the mist
of night and all its ghoulish subjects,
are we more than what we keep?
No more soul than silver, temporal and quick.
Do the dead count our blessings as we sleep?

Who were you before, what person did you shed?
The font of being moves persons down a list
and we have the dead beneath us and in our breath.
This world we built on worlds before of things
and things and things that we can’t hold or keep.
I am countless children digging dirt with broken sticks.
Do the dead count our blessings as we sleep?

Of morning and the gentle pressures as we wake in bed,
this shining, drawn-out dawn on thick
clouds in windless skies of blue-pink mesh
has made a yelping yawn, a wick
to light the skies, and you are here and fit
perfectly along my back and bend of knee.
We are countless children digging with magic sticks.
Do the dead count our blessings as we sleep?

When you gently touch the inside of my wrist,
I am here in this day and in past and future weeks.
We are a tendon trimmed with feathers that persist.
Do the dead count our blessings as we sleep?

Jenny Benjamin is an award-winning poet and novelist. Over 30 of her poems have appeared in journals, including DIAGRAM, South Carolina Review, Fulcrum, Baltimore Review, Chelsea, and the Crab Orchard Review. Her first novel, This Most Amazing, was published in 2013 by Armida Books in Nicosia, Cyprus. Her poetry chapbook, More Than a Box of Crayons, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.