Poets Against Sexual Violence: Fundraiser For RAINN (Part Two)

Dear Friends,

Here is a poem by one of the exciting poets who is participating in our fundraiser for the nonprofit RAINN, which advocates for survivors of sexual violence in the USA. His name is Thomas Dooley, and the poem in question (“Maybe in an Atlas”) is published in his fine collection Trespass, which was selected for the National Poetry Series in 2013. As PBS Newshour puts it in their Weekly Poem section, Thomas’ book “dramatizes family pain passed through generations”. Below is the poem, which you can find in Trespass here. If you missed my previous post about my motivations for organizing the reading, you can read it here. The post has all the information you will need to donate to RAINN, and directions if you would like to come to the reading, which is at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop on Saturday, 29th April at 7 p.m. Use this link to PBS to listen to Thomas read the poem. 

Thomas Dooley / www.thomasdooley.us

Maybe In An Atlas

Maybe another New Jersey
somewhere. Linden wood
as cash cow. And a way out. If my father grew
taller that year, sudden. Reached
the high altar wicks, a Moses
in Egypt. Bigger than the priests. What if deus
ex machina. Or a catcher.
No rye. Rye watered
down. Rocks to mean rocks. Not
glacial. Not a cold hand
anywhere. A siren sounds
on skin. Maybe a pie
in the window. Adults made big gestures
with giant hands. He wasn’t soft.
Boney, but not folded
like egg whites, hankies.
In his yearbook: “Aspiration: farmer.”
Tall as corn, as noon sun. Only if he grew
taller, sudden, he wouldn’t be
lightweight linden, maybe a hundred
proof. She was proof. Girls
were softer. Maybe his hand
looked giant. And she lay down
softly. Like he was made to, maybe.