Poem

The Industry of Us | All You Cannot See


The Industry of Us

Maybe I am practicing for some god’s commandments.
With the chisel and mallet I tap across the smooth surface
of slate to unveil letters, carve words I can touch.
Or maybe I want to be a monk, transcribe the next bible,
as I memorize each compartment in the drawers of fonts,
align letters upside down onto a composing stick
before they are inked and pressed into paper.
Maybe we all just want to make something
close to the possibility of sacred while we’re here.
Once I watched a chipmunk drag some recyclables
one at a time into the emptiness of our ravine.
With closer inspection I saw the sun-flecked plastic bottles
peeking from a pile he’d camouflaged with leaves. So many
trips from our garage to create a mound of glittering.


All You Cannot See

You wrap it all over you,
that covenant you have
with what you cannot see,
what you feel in your cupped palms
near the end of a yoga class when you open
your eyes in the dimmed room of quiet bodies
to see if the teacher is touching you.
A fistful of invisible, a scarf of it,
the way your hair silvers it.
The truth of what you don’t know
for certain, but if you were blindfolded
you might find it after the spinning—
at those parties, a papery donkey tail
clutched in your small hand
and you reaching, reaching
for what you hope is in front of you.

About Sarah Dickenson Snyder

Sarah Dickenson Snyder lives in Vermont, and has three poetry collections: The Human Contract (2017), Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera (2019). Another book is forthcoming in 2023. sarahdickensonsnyder.com

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