All Wet and Shine
It sounds like the cracks and clicks of the house settling
as the room warms in morning, it sounds like a fan
whispered up. It tastes of wood smoke—sweet and then stale.
It looks like the curve of a mountain
under streaked sky, and everything pale blue
just before sunrise, everything translucent,
even stone. The stone is blue, it tastes, after all,
like tea in a glass cup, it feels like wanting a
blanket on your lap, nesting, hovering around
a wound, no a break, where the mountain opens,
wanting to heal, to soften the gap, to close it,
like an empty room inside of me, and I want to give it fire
and fill it with humming, and make it hum
and vibrate—the resound of a chamber
opened and filled with air—with beating.
I want to fill the gap
but it keeps opening, pressing
inside to outside, unhousing
and unseeding the husk of me.
I am not a house with an empty room,
a broken window in a wall.
I am not sleep battered open by a dream,
not even a mountain turning solid again
as light rises, I am not a cave in the mountain. I
am not I—that’s what it feels like
today, waking alone in late winter. A spider
hanging her web in the doorjamb, spinning in three
dimensions—to catch what passes,
trembling with capture, all wet and shine,
moments when everything is a door.
— Cynthia Huntington
Congratulations to Orion contributor Cynthia Huntington, who is among the finalists for the National Book Award for Heavenly Bodies. Her poem “All Wet and Shine” appeared in our January/February 2010 issue.
(Join us Tuesday, April 24, for a live web discussion about poetry with Christian, poets Pattiann Rogers and Maria Melendez, and Orion’s poetry editor, Hannah Fries. Click here to register.)