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Poetry

Daisy Bassen

DaisyI am a practicing psychiatrist and poet. I graduated from Princeton University with a degree in English and completed my medical training at the University of Rochester and Brown. I have been published in Black Buzzard Review, Oberon, The Sow’s Ear, AMWA Literary Review, The Opiate, SUSAN|The Journal, Arcturus, Tuck Magazine, After the Pause, Mobius, IthacaLit and Adelaide Literary Review. I have pending publications at The Delmarva Review, The Minetta Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Pirene’s Fountain, THAT Literary Review, LEVELER, Mothers Always Write, The Paragon Press, MORIA, Illuminations, Cold Mountain Review, the Beautiful Cadaver Project and The Cape Rock. I was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry and a finalist in the 2018 Adelaide Literary Award for Poetry. I live in Rhode Island with my husband and children.

Sensible instructions

Can you do more?
Do it.
Like the fat bee, the flower,
The lioness, the intelligent crow,
Like the baby shrieking
For the nipple in her mouth,
An end to isolation, the sweetest
Tenderness, warmth regained;
Like your dreaming self
Walking until you fly, wind upon wind,
Running through a desert,
The sand parting like the sea
For your foot, like an angel
Wielding a flaming sword
Singeing air, like a tree bearing fruit
After a snowfall of blossom
We captured on film soaked in acid;
Like an ant with a village worth
Of weight on her back, the code twitchy,
Ready to write itself, zeros assembling;
Do it. More is waiting, more
Wants to be done; bread wants to rise,
To be punched down, the clamor of yeast,
Of breath; it all wants to happen
Like an electron seeking, a neuron
Seeking, your hands, made most cleverly,
For change, seeking. Your next move
Is waiting like your lover, eager, panting
For your arrival. Hurry. Hurry now.

The end of June

Sometimes, my hair sits on my neck
Like an animal, a masked raccoon maybe,
Lethargic with the last stages of rabies
When even frothing requires too much work.
Does every halfling feel this distinct?
I wonder if a centaur is disgusted
By dropping steamed puddings of manure
Through the meadow’s herbs, the back end
Unconscious of bidets, the shoveled-out,
Polite confines of a latrine. Mermaids
And those tails of theirs, far longer
Than any pair of legs would be, a lasso
Independent of the hand that throws, intention-
Less. Let’s call a lasso what it really is,
A noose, how they’re swimming around
With murder below the belt. I imagine
Chopping it all off, my growing hair,
But there are Samson and Rapunzel to consider,
The regret and the unknown shape of my skull;
Phrenology may reveal I’m a failure
Or too compelled by amativeness, an old word
That means I love to love. It’s too much.
I let the curls rest on my neck, nest, wind,
Fronds like a fern’s fiddlehead. I’m young enough
For the length of it now, but too old to grow
It all back again. Too old to grow anything
So abundant except humiliation or remorse
Like a braid wrapped around me, a net,
Wild, lush metastases; a second, blinding caul.

Training for Death Certificate Completion

God, God, God,
Will we sit at long desks,
Will there be screens like Polyphemus’s eye
Gazing back at us, incurious, encompassing
As amoebae? Will it be in triplicate,
Each third page the Holy Ghost, a fairy tale
Triumvirate to confirm you are gone:
Gone even though you lie there in front of me
Still apparently yourself because I can’t see
How you continue to die, every bit of you
Coming apart, cascades stretched, snapped?
There will be an evaluation at the end,
How well you learned, any complaints
Typed, logged, filed, a bored administrator,
Mid-level pay scale, eyeing the last of the cola,
Who never says the word coffin
                                                   body
                                                   pyre
                                                   prayer

Who never says what it does to you,
Signing the certificate with your own name.

 

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