To create is not enough.
We must live with our hearts
in our hands—like Mary.
We must hold the blood-
red heart and not be disappointed
when others look away.
This is the simplest way
to say yes. To say, I am here
giving you what I’m afraid
will scare you, yet I am
holding it in my palms.
Disappear if you have to.
Disappear into the cracks
of the world and call it
an earthquake. Fear shakes
itself on us and we decide
how much we can take.
Reader, I want to tell you
the hearts we hold will continue
beating even after we leave here.
Be the statue on the dashboard
even if what you hold
drips onto the floorboard, even
if you have no idea where to go.
Previously published in Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press, 2014)
Kelli Russell Agodon is a poet, writer, and editor from the Northwest. Her recent books are Hourglass Museum, a collection of poems published by White Pine Press and The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice, which she coauthored with Martha Silano.
Her other books include Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room (Winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year in Poetry and Finalist for the Washington State Book Prize), Small Knots, Geography, and Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry.
Kelli is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press and is the Co-Director of Poets on the Coast: A Weekend Retreat for Women Writers. She lives in a small seaside town where when not writing, she is an avid paddleboarder and hiker. She has a fondness for typewriters, desserts, and fedoras. Find out more about Kelli at www.agodon.com.
Favorite poets: Currently reading Jeannine Hall Gailey’s THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER, January Gill O’Neil’s MISERY ISLANDS, and the newly released second-edition of WHAT THE TRUTH TASTE LIKES by Martha Silano.