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By Meena Alexander

This disease has come back

With frills and furbelows.


You must give your whole life to poetry

Only a few survive if that—


Poems I mean, paper crumpled

Shades of another water—


Far springs are what you long for,

Listening for the slow drip of chemicals


Through a hole in your chest.


If you were torn from me

I could not bear what the earth had to offer.


To be well again, what might that mean?

The flowering plum sprung from late snow,


Ratcheting trill in the blackberry bush

Blood streaks, pluck and throb of mercy.


Source: Poetry (March 2019)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living
  • Mythology & Folklore

Poet Bio

Meena Alexander
Born in Allahabad, India, poet Meena Alexander was raised in Kerala and Sudan. She earned a BA at Khartoum University and a PhD at Nottingham University. Alexander taught at the University of Hyderabad, Columbia University, and Al Quds University, and was a National Fellow at the Indian Institute for Advanced Study, Shimla. She lived in New York City for many years, where she was Distinguished Professor of English at the Graduate Center/Hunter College, CUNY. She died in late 2018. In her poetry, which has been translated into several languages, she explores migration, trauma, and reconciliation.    See More By This Poet

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