I As In Justice

Recently, in our Small Press Spotlight, Paul Di Filippo extolled the virtues of Graywolf Press, founded in 1974. Poetry has always been a vibrant component of Graywolf’s program, so we’re pleased to add them to the trio of distinguished publishers we’ve already presented in this space as part of our celebration of National Poetry Month. In the coming week, we’ll be presenting a poem a day from work recently issued by Graywolf. First up is “I As In Justice,” by Mary Jo Bang, from The Bride of E.



I As In Justice

Just this: Consider that you are here and there

Is a bar or six at the window and you are dying

To escape. And on the television

The operatic

Which is sometimes called the nightly news.

In between cuts of carnage, the click

Catches and claims the marzipan

Blue behind it. A hand unzips the blue,

And reaches through and strokes the cat,

Calico, old, and tending to fat.

You know this thin scene

Is lit by the heedless light at the end

Of a harrowed day. Curiosity and hunger

Give rise to wanderlust. Then back

To the program: “If you look at the brain…”

Not everyone agrees but it’s clear

There is an immense power in uncertainty.

There is that story that goes like this:

You were a crime you didn’t know had been committed.

And it’s that not knowing, the sine qua non

Of uncertainty, that holds the person in

Place. I can’t tell you how to think

Of it but for some it’s seen

As an overambitious stranglehold.

Think garrote at the neck. And then think

Of how silly it sounds

To say afterwards, “I was angry,”

When what you might have said was,

“Surely what I wish for you can’t be worse

Than what fate has in store.”

Mary Jo Bang, “I As In Justice” from The Bride of E. Copyright © 2009 by Mary Jo Bang. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota. www.graywolfpress.org