Mary Kinzie - “Moment, Stay”

How to look away from what is painful?-- 
            ---the stumbling of light                    that 
lapse     a faint slur 
            of movement                           at once keen 
and cottony     nothing ­instant 
            everything prolonged                        drawn off . . .

To see the earwig
             touch the beard of pollen or water 
dally along the passive 
             sand, the moon       breathe         in its 
ring of light--these, 
             as bitter 
as actually to see 
rake across a vein.

Then: therefore is the bliss 
             of holding what one loves 
so hurry-hollow?

Because it is to meet 
             in shape and 
moisture and from

deep in the eye 
            the features of 
a ghost? To whom

            do we say,

            DO STAY, 
            FAIR BIRD?


“Moment, Stay,” an excerpt from “Book of Tears,” appeared in Drift (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003) by Mary Kinzie.  Copyright ©2003 by Mary Kinzie.