poems by Susan Snively

A Woman Holding a Balance

Second Glance

Spencer Tracy


Second Glance

The desiccated bird was just a leaf
until I looked again and saw a bird.
A grief requires a mind to be a grief.

Seizing on words too early for relief,
language makes a law of the absurd.
The desiccated bird was just a leaf,

as senseless as a mockingbird gone deaf
and mute for plagiarizing what it heard.
A grief demands a mind to be a grief

whose second glance, belief or disbelief,
discloses what denial has obscured -
the desiccated bird is not a leaf,

although its ground-time here will be as brief
as comfort lasts, delivered in a word.
A grief appropriates a mind with grief.

Of all the forms of mindlessness, the chief
is saying what occurred has not occurred.
The fallen bird has withered like a leaf.
A grief arranges minds within its grief.

From THE UNDERTOW (University Press of Florida, 1997)