Excerpts > Summer 2004
Constance Merritt
"...The Mind in the Act of Finding What Will Suffice"

Constance Merritt “ . . . The Mind in the Act of Finding What Will Suffice”

Seizes summer,
an evening in late summer
Where cicadas choired
and the company fell away
As darkness settled
round us like a shawl
And our voices found
another register
Below the pitch
and roll of social chatter. . . .
And life in that new place seemed possible
Because it held within it something old,
Companionable - - cat’s purr, horse’s nicker - -
The words we speak to hold each other close
As darkness swallows the world and pares
Us back to the merest husk of creature being.

I’m old enough to know it wasn’t love,
Wasn’t much of anything at all,
Yet just before sleep or waking up
Or sitting at my desk dreaming lines,
I find myself inexorably drawn
As if below this life, an underlife - -
Fierce, heedless, hidden, shy of sun - -
Suddenly stretched its sinuous length and ran
Along the neural pathways breathing flame.

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