Mind the Gap

Happy Fourth of July! Today I am declaring my Independence from Doubt. Emily has this to say:

#546, c. 1862

To fill a Gap
Insert the Thing that caused it —
Block it up
With Other — and ’twill yawn the more —
You cannot solder an Abyss
With Air.

She’s right, of course. The heart (and all the other organs too) wants what it wants. Nothing else will do. Pointless to talk herself into or out of anything. “You cannot solder an Abyss/ With Air.” First of all, you can’t solder anything with air. That element is too cool. You need extreme heat to melt the edges of a wound toward closing. Air is also the medium for words. Can’t fix a thing by talking about it either.

Emily says there is no cure for this wound but the one who made it. No shape may fill the space left behind but the one whose absence has created the emptiness. A cut-out shape in the fabric of her world. You know the shape I mean. Tall, big shoulders, hands like shovels, turning a girl like loamy soil. Not showing up any time soon. Not today, not yesterday, not likely tomorrow either.

This is a bit of a change of pace for Emily. Such an unambiguous cri de coeur. No elliptical business here. Only a direct bolt of longing. And her unashamed complaint (no Doubt resides in Emily) that none will do for her but the one she wants. Her simple and fierce appetite is so bracing. Impressive in such a skinny girl.

Emily’s dissatisfaction will not be quiet. Her empty stomach growls for the only sustenance that it cannot have. The poem itself is that growl, loud and clear and urgent. Even in her roughest hunger, Emily is lovely.

If her hunger were satisfied, her gap filled with the correctly shaped one, she might not be writing poems. Well, okay Emily would still be writing poems, but I certainly would not be sitting on this damn porch with two dogs and a notebook. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

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