Jean Day
from The Literal World



I am sitting among you to watch; and every once and awhile I will
come out and tell you what time of night it is.
—Sojourner Truth

Like one who is deep, ambiguous, and
old, I too need the reassurance of
one story over and over again. In
the words of a salesperson, "We have
all been thrown down in our dialogues
with daytime, our habiliments soiled, our sweaters,
gashed." But having penetrated the interior I
stand in my crib proudly brimming; give
me the words to say a clear
stream and as the sun falls ever
upward I will wipe the eclipse from
my face. How satisfying it might have
been to settle and tell; Husband preferred
to move on. That is almost certainly
when from the verge of the porch
of my ear I heard myself become
macaronic, my two pens writing long out
of captivity. For liberty is a constant
reconstruction, first and last like the sea
with a city of explicable nights in
between: I have come before and stayed.