Poetry & Personality

About Coach Mary Bast





as one who casts the word bread upon the word waters, testing

as one who not believing something will rise up from
those waters, but not disbelieving either
casts out her voice 

as one curious or hungry or filled with longing breaks
off just the crust of a word, throwing
the way she threw as a girl when everyone

told her that was not the way
to throw and expecting little or nothing
looks into the blackness but the waves

are not black they will be deep
scummed violet and bronze
like a memorial forgotten
                                     would it have made a difference
if she had cast the word thread upon those waters
unspooling what she spoke     sewing

knots and tangles into waves and might
thread return to her as dread or even dead

as one who does not know what it is she wants
but wants her wanting sanctified
and anointed with myrrh and futility     black

the waves are black and laced with white
shrouds which pass
                                         into nothingness and the way
a snowflake vanishes
into the waves her voice cast out from her

she has wanted so long such a lifetime not
knowing what it is she wants

as one who has eaten joy for no good reason
with no idea where it came from
and wept in her sleep forgetting afterward who

embraced her but the next day feeling the loss
as one who casts word after word
into nothingness fillets ruins of foam cresting

so the word lover vanishes into water
and with it go fervor and savior forever
and elixir 
                         as one who keeps opening and closing
so the word birth is buried in earth so
the word breath is lost in death

as one who waits to see the eyes of water
roll back into depth, who waits
to see the depth rolled back and parted so she

can fly through and thinks she sees wings
and knows herself deluded
even though she sees
                                             as one who marked off
her wanting who staked its boundaries and let
nothing cross over to staunch or squander it

as one who says I want therefore I am

as one who saw the word bread float in the word water
before they both sank under
the weight of her wanting

as one who thought she saw something leap
but it may have been the word motion coming back
to her shadow for shadow

what is the hunger to know the other's
hunger built up like an altar

sacrifice she understood the blood
of her hunger wanting hunger for hunger, its
teeth in her flesh the word flesh the word hunger

as one who the more she looked saw less
what little there was she messed into more mess
there was no depiction in it

what would it take to register the quickness
the alacrity to blow out

the candle of the waves the word candle

the voice of the waves the word voice

the living face of the promise of the voice

Susan Mitchell, Best American Poetry 2008,
from The American Poetry Review

More Poems

Out of the Box Coaching and
Breakthroughs with the Enneagram, Mary R. Bast, Ph.D. 
Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. Revised: October 22, 2013