Two Poems | Eva Salzman | Granta

Two Poems

Eva Salzman


it is I say I said or did, because they said I didn’t say or do it
– by virtue of my belief – becomes what they said I said or did.

The more often I say I hadn’t said what’s said I’m meant
to have said, the more compelling becomes the evidence I did,

that belief of theirs more virtuous too. Saying I didn’t say or do it
defies believability. Believing in my own belief in my own fact

belies true fact, demonstrates the one unalterable fact there’s no fact,
(they say), their statement of the fact of this fact of course being fact.

There never is nor was a single fact among facts I deem fact – it’s funny
that – and that’s the only fact. It’s impossible that anything to which

I attest as fact is fact, having been delivered by a purveyor – me –
whose grasp of fact can’t be trusted and who holds mere point-of-view.

I don’t know if you’ve met these people testing your attachment to facts,
themselves attached to the fact there’s no fact, which belief of theirs

constitutes fact but they see no problem there. Hopefully, you never do,
that is: meet those people, marry them or love them much.

I might as well have not said or done what I said I said or did.
I might as well have said or done instead what they said, even if I hadn’t.

Gratitude is due these people too, gifting me purpose, enabling me
to embody the fact that their point-of-view is, in point of fact, fact.






Never over the nearly over

Gone before they’re gone, and mean,
the mortally
ill move towards a black oak forest,
learning to bear
brutal welcomes
of scraggy branches iced with bunting.
They’re privileged entrants to winter’s empire

pausing in the snow’s blue nightclub glow,
attuned to a silent thrum,
spurning the art of comfort and flowery
intentions, and
our insubstantial yearnings,
not themselves the grieving ones.
Sorrow becomes us only.

before they’re gone they’re gone, drawn
inside brittle cold and Norwegian lakes,
progressing over wind-swept glaciers
shedding the people, scaling a redwood
monument for the hub
of an owl’s stillness.

You want to go? I want to go
or think I do
for the love of them

to stride an eloquently bleak Camargue,
provenance of unknown senseless
miniature pyramids of rock, strewn
over reaches distant as the planet’s
Nobody knows who,
if anyone, landscaped it, built odd
gods’ toys or if they’re accidents
of time and tide, or proof of ancient
OCD. Let them be
stations of the million crosses for us
carrying crosses for the hangers-on we are

in desiring early
a journey we shouldn’t
and the more we want to go with them
the more amplified that rage’s
scorning the human, such as needs for slow
good-byes meaningful no longer
to those who’ve entered the mansions
of Escher

landings, ascending cross-stitched steps
into chambers so hugely dark no ceiling
shows nor floor:
to those who’ve crossed
beyond repair to the other side,
travelling continents of frosted moss
and sand and weed . . .

who shoulder aside
vast ice scrims, inside them mighty
flocks of geese suspended migrating
like flies in amber . . .
they long to walk
and walk and walk,

and we want to walk
where we can’t yet, left behind awakened
at lowered altitudes, and who

are we? insisting they stay
with us
who are we? but those whom they
let live by dying since we’re never
so alive
as among the dead and dying.



Image © microphylum

Eva Salzman

Eva Salzman’s books include Women’s Work: Modern Women Poets Writing in English (Seren) and Double Crossing: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe). Recent pubiclations include an essay for Dark Horse set against the backdrop of the USA and UK cultural divide, which she inhabits, as a dual citizen. Current projects include panelist at the Sylvia Plath Symposium at Hunter College in NYC on March 30th, featuring Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan as keynote speakers.

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