New Poem at the Poetry Foundation!
Yesterday morning, I woke up to the very surprising news that one of my poems was the “poem of the day” over at the Poetry Foundation website. I wrote “Pledge” what feels like a million years ago, back in mid-March, right at the start of staying at home, when the term “social distancing” still felt strange to say.
One day, as I worked on my current manuscript-in-progress, Civilians, I began to ask myself about my own allegiances: to what do I still feel allegiance, during this terrible time?
I looked across the room at my husband and thought, He’s my country, he’s what I believe in, even during this darkness. After all these years of marriage, we continue to be “a nation of two,” to quote Vonnegut. I wrote “Pledge” in about an hour. It came out fully formed, as poems rarely do. It’s always a gift when this happens, a reward for the hundreds of hours when a poem doesn’t come easily, when the poem requires rearranging and cutting and snipping and perhaps even being shattered into tiny crystalline fragments before being put back into some kind of very different whole.
When I read “Pledge” to my husband, he said: “that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever written about our marriage.” And it’s true. Even though the poem contains darkness and the shadow of our current national sorrows hovers over the text, the poem commits itself to keep loving, to keep loving not an empty ideology but another human being. You can read “Pledge” here. And in the autumn, the poem will also be featured on American Life in Poetry, where it will have another life and, hopefully, continue to find an audience.