Naomi Buck Palagi

give it a name
               april 2020

if we wanted we could give it a name—
springtime, the leaf-out, world wash.

all I can see now of the house across the way is
a bit of roof.

it rains a lot. this thing. unpredictable, 
moody. a world in rut regardless

of our status, stuck on the couch, waiting
and fearful.

the birds are calling, singing, scolding. clocks
around the world are paused—

in slow-motion the answers delivered to each 
in movie-drama format— death, luck, pain. our spot 

in the hierarchy solidified or shot
into the air, a confetti cannon.

we could give it a name, but a small red fox
is just now giving birth.


as if I were forever
getting over trauma.

you’re letting it sink in, I say,
you’re letting it wash

over you, I tell myself, until 
you’re ready for…

and into a screeching halt I
slide, tumble, crash, sit up, head


I don’t even know what this trauma
might be, that justifies

scrolling through the same 
re-hashed news stories on screen 

after screen when the times I feel best are

it might be covid, a pandemic
is solid justification. and before that it was maybe

my husband’s job search and knowing
we’d be moving soon, and before that it was definitely

the lousy job and also the husband getting
the phd and the kids

being little and needy and of course
it isn’t me as such.

I did my therapy long ago and it was good and now I’m
good. I just need to get past this next

little bit and I’ll finally
be motivated and in motion and be proud

of what I did today.

I wrote a poem.
I’m proud of what I did today.

Post Anniversaire

Hey You! Out there and alone. Aftershocks come brightly, faulting along the spine. Apples on every tree and each leaf a reminder—the serpent’s tongue. What else would we do when sun smashed the side of a tree, not shattering, just marking, brightly, Hey You!

There is one big pile of upholstery, and behind it, behind glass, the holly tree. One sneeze is a shock too many, carrot. Thunder. Recycled air echoing through my skull like wind in the pines. I wish you were here. I’d de-clutter a few ropes of brain, upholster them cleanly, for you. The sun does not move. Stubborn, it sits on leaves, pine needles, twigs. I have never been that still. I still am.

There is increased muscle tone. The year is drawing to a room, and the sun won’t budge. Tremors, whereby the earth moves, and the sun won’t budge. It has been one of the great honors of my life—leaf shimmers, glints. Whatever it is you think you have lost, come in. My skull is an open door, the wind rushes through the pines, moonlight, recycled, bathes the sides of trees and we upholster the softest bits.

Post anniversaire posed beret-like under a streetlamp. The moon sheds recycled sun and will not budge, will stay. Hey You! Out there. Both moon and sun shed – and stay, skin bright and new.

on the distribution of household duties: 
a birthday poem

a shape of fire to my left
water at my back
wind above me
and the world in my view.

this is a lot for one living room, for one
person touching life. Nina Simone 
on the screen opens her mouth,
eyes scanning, scanning, the lack

of need to smile, just take
it all in. let
it all out, taking
it all in.

to my right is the kitchen which is no longer
my work. below me, upholstery, 
bare pine floor, house structure, dark air,

I watch the sky

Naomi Buck Palagi has work published in numerous journals including Spoon River Review, Eleven  
Eleven, Otoliths, and Moria. Her first book of poetry, Stone, came out from BlazeVox Books in 2017. She 
lives in Mississippi, USA.
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Blogger Unknown said...

Damn, Naomi Buck Palagi. It's like walking around without my skin... and being grateful for it. Thank you.

1:33 AM  

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