by Li-Young Lee
As though touching her
might make him known to himself,
as though his hand moving
over her body might find who
he is, as though he lay inside her, a country
his hand's traveling uncovered,
as though such a country arose
continually up out of her
to meet his hand's setting forth and setting forth.
And the places on her body have no names.
And she is what's immense about the night.
And their clothes on the floor are arranged
Either my cat, Neelix, spilled a cup of water on Behind My Eyes by Li-Young Lee or it's worn out because it’s one of my favorite poetry books and I’ve doodled all over it during multiple reads. Actually both, but why? Well, my cat has behavioral problems and likes to dump out anything filled with water. You can only imagine his chagrin after the failed attempts to topple the toilet. He also often chews cords, and …oh, wait, you’d probably rather find out why I love Behind My Eyes. ;) Well, let’s see... explaining why I love a poem or collection always feels a bit like explaining why I love the color purple—it’s more of a feeling, but being a writer and all, I should be able to describe those, huh.
Okay, fine! This collection is dreamy, no, better, it’s pensive. It has a nocturnal tone. The narrator is often sleep-deprived or writing about his nighttime experiences, and I easily relate to those moments. And everyday interactions with loved ones that are often forgotten or taken for granted are written as powerfully as crimes against humanity. It was difficult to narrow down my favorite Li-Young Lee poem to post, maybe “Tethered,” maybe “Virtues of the Boring Husband,” maybe “After the Pyre,” but I chose “Dwelling” because it’s hot!! And I'm probably not "technically" allowed to do this, but I'm going to leave it up until someone complains..... :)
Li-Young Lee (Originally aired Mar. 2008)
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