by Diana Morley
Death comes sudden, so I hear,
heart gives out or mishap:
ladder tipped, car crash…
Yet some lives linger,
some die slowly—move closer
day by day, one by one,
no news—dying soft as they
live on the go right to the last day
when they know it’s time for leaving,
for seeping past a limpid line from day
to not-day, the way watercolors blend
and bleed past lines to seep through
into new hues, all while other people
eat and dance and sing—celebrate their luck.
At the store, balancing a hearty apple
freehand, calls to mind that when
wise to dying over time some people
show their spirited genius at living
The seduction of this poem is how the quiet images run counter to the trochaic meter. Typically, what would generate a strong, driving rhythm somehow softens into the background internal music of this deft poem. What’s remarkable is how “Gifted” follows, never forces, the meter through surprising or seductive images to its poignant destination.
Spreading Like Water (2019), is Diana Morley’s first chapbook; single poems published 2018–2019 by Right Hand Pointing and Passager. Second Prize (2018) and Honorable Mention (2019) received from Oregon Poetry Association contests, and her novel Something to Howl About (literary fiction) was published in 2014. She writes obsessively these days, often listening to Philip Glass, her muse, and reads poems at bookstores and coffee shops.